What is being healthy?


I promise they weren’t both mine! 

Some pictures from the weekend where we celebrated Mim’s birthday! She first had some friend’s over for drinks at her house, then we headed to a bar in Bentleigh called Sonder bar which had an amazing outdoor area in the back and we finished out night at Village Belle in St Kilda. A huge crew from the gym were there and loads of Mim’s lovely friends. We had such a good night celebrating the amazingness that is Mim. I’m so lucky to have her in my life, she just spreads so much joy and good vibes everywhere she goes.

Since I’ve started drinking a bit more than before and going out I’ve been doing a bit of thinking and reflecting recently on what being healthy actually is. Drinking alcohol brings up so many thoughts and dilemmas in my head. At the end of the day it’s poison and it really doesn’t do anything good for you but yet we still do it. It’s so odd! Why? Well, some drinks can taste good but I think there are drinks that are equally good or even better that don’t have alcohol in them. Okay, I admit it, it can be really fun to feel a bit drunk and go out and dance with all your friends. It’s more a social thing than anything. A lot of people have been saying, good Maddie, we thought you were being a bit too restrictive on yourself, you need to let loose. It’s more balanced this way. Is it a good thing I’ve started drinking again? I’m not sure and I do struggle with the thoughts of what it’s doing to my body. Not that I’m out several times a week. It’s been three times in the last month but compared to nothing for eight months, it’s a lot haha.

So what is living a balanced or healthy lifestyle? Like I said, before I came to Melbourne I hadn’t had anything to drink since my birthday in August, that’s eight months without alcohol. I didn’t miss it one bit, then all of a sudden since I got here it’s changed. I’m nowhere the party level I was at during uni but going out three times in a month for me is a lot. It’s been so much fun. One thing I definitely haven’t missed are the days after. Not that I’ve had a really bad hangover so far but I hate wasting days and let’s just say they’ve not been the most productive Sundays of my life. At the same time, I guess we can’t alway be super productive and once in a while we need to slow down.

Is this what a “balanced” lifestyle is? Is this what a healthy relationship with fitness is? Training hard during the weeks and having some drinks during the weekend? Rather than being strict and not having any alcohol at all? I didn’t drink before because I didn’t enjoy it and I thought it was unnecessary. At the end of the day we don’t need alcohol and it is after all poison. It doesn’t do any good. However, yet some say restricting yourself and putting boundaries to what you can and can’t do isn’t healthy or balanced either.

The same goes for food, everyone says a nice indulgent meal is good once in a while. I love going out for food and whilst I adore a Thai curry for instance I know it’s not the best for my body. Is that healthy? Eating good the majority of the time and then having some indulgent meals too? Looking solely on what it does for your body, maybe not. Eating nourishing and healthy meals would surely be the best way to go from a health perspective but would it really be that fun then? The next issue would be if you never had cake or a meal out, wouldn’t you feel like you’d be missing out? Would you feel restricted? Feeling restricted and not ever caving in to cravings could potentially lead to you binge eating at some point rather than just having a little bit of cake or having that takeout and not stuffing yourself because you don’t know when you’ll next have it. That’s why diets really don’t work. You can’t eat that restrictively for the rest of your life. I suppose you could but you’d be missing out on a lot plus I’d be mega impressed if you managed to always eat that way. I’m not saying it’s impossible but it’s hard work.

I feel since I got to Australia I’ve probably loosened up a bit. It’s a new place with new people and so many incredible places to eat. At times I’ve thought I might be a indulging a bit too much. Especially with so many incredible vegan places around! However, it’s part of living as well and I know that in time I’ll probably find a better balance once everything settles down a bit more. I suppose it also depends on what my fitness goals are and how I want to feel and I guess look. I could shape up and eat a bit better, not have those drinks at parties on the weekends when I do drink but I do also want to live a little. I’m not sure how long I am in Australia for and I want to make the most of it while I’m here. I’m still training about 6-9 times a week, eating health the majority of the time and I’m not out super often drinking. I guess in a way my life at the moment is more “balanced”. There’s a bit of everything. Is balance healthy? Do you guys see where I’m going with this?

I guess from a health perspective I was better before. I’m not saying one way is better than the other. What I’m trying to get to with this post is, health and finding the best balanced lifestyle is not black and white. It’s very much a grey area and you need to find what works for you. Your lifestyle varies also throughout your life where you have moments when you’re on a roll with your health and fitness and sometimes it takes a little dip. It’s not all a straight line and things happen. It’s okay, as long as you’re aware of it. I think I was probably a bit too harsh with myself when it came to healthy eating at times but I’m always learning and improving. I think now I stress a lot less about it all, as long as I’m the majority of them time eating well I’m happy.

What are your thoughts on what a healthy lifestyle is or being healthy? I didn’t really come to a conclusion but I thought it was worth bringing up because I feel like it’s something people struggle with a lot. Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear them.

M xxx

Hello old friend

When I arrived in Australia I was in a bad place. I’d been through a lot personally the past year. Things not a lot of people know. I had fought a tough battle for a long time. I didn’t realise how much I’d been hiding from my thoughts and feelings. I’d kept them tightly locked up somewhere in the back of my mind. Trying to keep it together. It didn’t always work but it was my coping mechanism, just keep training, just keep on smiling, just keep on acting like everything is okay. Truth be told, I was heartbroken for a long time. I felt close to tears a lot of the time, close to breaking. I cried a couple of times a week. I walked around with a heavy weight on my chest constantly. I caught myself panicking at times, having to stop and take deep breaths to avoid having a meltdown. I couldn’t open that door, not in the middle of the street or in the gym or anywhere else. I didn’t want people to ask questions (yet a lot of friends around me knew things weren’t right and asked). It was tough but I don’t regret what I’ve been through. It had to be done and now I’m here.

One massive realisation I’ve had since stepping out of my situation in Glasgow was how I completely almost stopped listening to music when I was alone. My walks used to be powered by music, my time at home as well but instead I turned to podcasts. Podcasts were my way to escape my thoughts. Instead I could focus on someone else’s life, thoughts and conversations. They saved me from thinking. They saved me from reflections or overanalysing what I was going through. I’m an expert at overthinking things and worrying. I listened to so many podcasts just for the sake of listening. I just needed something to quieten my thoughts and distract me from that heavy weight on my chest. I needed an escape from my life and the situation I was in. They helped me live in denial and get through the day.

As soon as I put on music the thoughts went all over the place. It was scary. I couldn’t stop it. It was just me, the texts, the melody and my thoughts. There was nowhere to hide. Music made me feel and I couldn’t bare to face what it made me feel. I felt like it would break me. There were some days I would allow it and everything would pour out of me. There was one weekend I remember a while back where I spent a full day on the sofa crying just listening to Ed Sheeran on repeat. It was like a cleanse. Then once that was done, it closed the door again and moved on. Goodness it sounds so dramatic when I’m typing it now but it was the truth. The truth I didn’t want to share with anyone because I know what it would sound like. Deep down inside I knew this wasn’t sustainable. This wasn’t healthy anymore. We want to be there for people but for how long? To what extent do you want to sacrifice your own sanity and wellbeing? A big learning for me was you can’t fight someone else’s battle for them. It’s not me who’s not enough, it’s just not my battle to be fought.

Going to Australia was not only a dream of mine for so long but it was a way out of the situation. I needed to go. I didn’t have a job and I was so down I didn’t even realise how bad it was. I needed change. I didn’t realise then how much I needed a new spark. Australia has been that. It was going to change everything, me going away it would give space to find our way back to one another. To the couple we used to be but it didn’t end up being that way in the end. I realised there was no way back. For me there was only forward and I needed to do it on my own. I found people who made me feel amazing and realised I’ll be more than okay. It’s funny how you meet certain people and it feels like you’ve known them forever. You click from the first conversation. I realised I’m not actually going to be on my own because I’ve found them and with the strength I gained mentally from this new place, I knew I’d be okay.

After only a couple of weeks or so here I for the first time during a walk was listening to a podcast and I found it distracting. I couldn’t concentrate on what they were saying. I couldn’t understand why, I’d never experienced this before the entire time I’d been listening to them. Then I realised, it was my thoughts. I was thinking and enjoying my thoughts. They were light and happy. They weren’t heavy or making me feel anxious as before. I actually welcomed them and wanted to listen to them. I paused the podcast and for the first time in a while on a walk I put on a Spotify playlist and I loved it. It felt so good to hear a voice singing along to a melody and how it made me feel. I felt again and it wasn’t difficult, it wasn’t painful. I actually smiled and looked over the sea and I felt gratitude and happiness. I know a lot of the pain I’d been carrying around was not my own but someone else’s and once that was gone I was slowly feeling old Maddie coming back. Don’t get me wrong, other days I’ve cried listening too but it’s been part of the healing process and I’ve welcomed it. It hasn’t been an unstoppable waterfall but a lighter stream, which then ran out.

One day in the gym one of the coaches asked me why I’m always smiling all the time and I realised I was. I was smiling all the time and not because I tried to put a brave face on. It was like old Maddie, old smiley Maddie. I was just so happy to be there. I had come far in such a short period of time.

I wake up now feeling light. Not every day is easy but I feel excited and music has never sounded better. Every day here is a new opportunity for me. I’m happy for every moment I have with my new friends and being here. I’m not saying it’s a dance on roses all the time and I’ve still got things to process but I feel like I’m on track for the first time in a while. I’ve got so many exciting things happening and everything I had dreamed of for Australia, I’m living it now. I was terrified to go but now I realise it is what saved me. I couldn’t have done it without all my supportive family and friends. Thank you for supporting me through one of the most trialling years for me ever. I couldn’t have done it without you. I love you more than you’ll ever know.

They pushed me to go. They cheered me on when I booked my flights and made sure I did it. Probably because they could see I needed it. Thank you for seeing I needed change and helping me to make the move. Even though it meant me going far away. I miss them all every day. I really do but right now Australia is where I want and need to be.

I’m happy to say I wrote this entire blog post listening to music! Florence + The Machine’s song Patricia is a new favourite! Oh music old friend, it’s nice to enjoy you again.

M xxx

Feeding lambs


Em is getting her driver’s license and needs to get a certain amount of hours of driving until then so she took the wheel!
Preparing the milk solution for the lambies

All good to go

How happy does cute animals make you?!


Our creation in the woodwork classroom haha

Hello my lovelies! Time has run away with me once again and here I am once more with a couple of days without posting anything. I get to a point where I’d rather wait another day and write properly rather than just throwing something on here for the sake of updating. What do you prefer?

Today marks a week in the house with Taylor and just under two weeks left of my stay here. So far so good. I’m really happy to have Taylor with me, she’s such a sweetie and a dream to take care of. Every evening we lie in front of the TV and snuggle. It’s great! I’ve really missed that about having a dog. She also gets me out walking without any distractions, which is really nice. Usually when I’m out I listen to music or a podcast but when I’m with her I just wander about with my thoughts whilst she’s sniffing. I’d also slightly forgotten how much your life is planned around your dog! Always keeping her at the back of your mind so she doesn’t go too long without a toilet break or company. Small things you don’t think about when you haven’t been a dog owner for a while.

Yesterday my gym friends Mich, Em and I drove down to another gym friend Paul’s (also known as PC) work to feed lambs. Paul works at a school and they have farm animals there. How amazing is that? Amongst the many things he does there he helps out with feeding the animals and yesterday morning it was his turn to feed the lambs. When asked if I wanted to come and see them I could not turn down such an opportunity. Who doesn’t love cute farm animals? We helped out making the milk solution for lambs and then got the incredible chance to bottle feed them. It was the cutest thing!

When looking and holding these cute little things loads of thoughts came up. Like how could I possibly eat you? I haven’t really been faced with a lot of farm animals since I stopped eating meat and I was a bit caught off guard when it came up when I was standing there. I used to eat lamb. I used to love lamb. My curry of choice when ordering Indian used to be with lamb. Now I couldn’t do it. I’m not saying that I’ll never eat meat again because things change and I don’t like putting barriers on what I can and can’t do, of who I am or not, but as it feels now I’m not tempted at all by the thought of meat. I love little lambs and want them to run around in the fields, not end up on my plate. That’s of course only personal reflections and preferences, each to their own but it was an eye opening experience facing these animals from a different point of view than before. I feel more at ease and like I’m true to my beliefs when I don’t eat meat because I couldn’t bare the thought of killing a lamb or a cow myself in order to eat it.

After feeding and petting lambs we carried on to look at the other animals on their little farm. I got to see alpacas up close for the first time ever. They’re such funny looking animals I think! Luckily they didn’t spit on us as they’re so renowned for doing luckily! Then we moved on to the hen house, not my favourite part I’ve got to admit. For those who don’t know, I’m a bit scared of birds or they just make me feel uncomfortable. I don’t know why haha.

We then headed to PC’s classroom where he teaches woodwork. Goodness, that took me back to the school days in Sweden. We made a little lego head out of plastic pieces we cut out on one of the machines. It was a team effort of Em doing the hair, Mich the eyes and me the mouth. He’s now in Red Bluff by the whiteboard.

At this point I was starving, I only had a small nibble for breakfast in the morning so we headed for some food at Soul Press (a blog post of that will be up soon!) before it was time for another stop on our little day trip, the piercing salon. Em had been wanting to get her nose pierced for a while and when she said she was going I figured I’d get my left ear done. I’ve been thinking about getting two more holes done in my ear lobe for a long time. I even told myself I’d do it when Rainhill was over as a present for myself for competing but just never did it. Therefore I thought why not now when we were going anyway? Was it painful? Yes a bit but it was over quickly and I’m so happy to have had it done. It felt special having it done with my friends here in Melbourne. I can’t wait for the holes to heal so I can get some new earrings in. I think it’ll look really good! Fun to try something new.

Mich, Em and I then waved bye to PC and headed back to pick up the dogs (Mich and Em have a dog and I’ve got Taylor). It was quite cramped in the car with all of them but we made it work! We had a nice long walk in Dendy Park with all of them. The dogs were so happy and I was glad Taylor got a chance to socialise and run off the lead for a bit. She’s an oldie so we don’t get very far on our walks and I know how much she loves going to Dendy Park so it was great Mich offered to drive us all.

The day finished off with a Friday night gym session. Em, Mich, Matty and I did an interesting workout where you did 50 cal row to start then did 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 of squat cleans and handstand push ups. The weight for girls on the cleans was 75lbs if I remember correctly. The handstand push ups got juicy towards the end! Then once you’d done all of those reps you had to finish with another 50 cal on the rower. Then we did an ab circuit, it killed my core haha. We were all struggling towards the end!  Em and I practised some toes to bar and double unders before it was time to head home. I didn’t think I did much but now writing it all it was quite a productive evening!

At the moment as I’m typing this it’s Saturday afternoon. This morning we had a good session in the gym of overhead squats. We were meant to find our three rep max. My upper body is feeling quite tired after a heavy weak for the shoulders and arms but I still managed a new three max at about 50kg! I was thrilled. We then did a workout of snatches and muscle ups (kipping pull ups for me) and I got blood blister in both my hands hehe. Painful! At least I didn’t rip.

Oh yeah, speaking of PBs and the other day I got a new three rep max on my deadlift at about1 06kg! My previous three rep max was about 98kg for my Rainhill seeding and that was a massive struggle for me even with a belt on. This time around I had no belt and it felt manageable, my technique went a little bit but that happens with the heavier lifts sometimes. I feel like I’ve gradually been doing a lot of improvements these past couple of weeks and I’m getting stronger. It’s a great feeling!

Speak soon, M xxx

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