What people call ‘transformation’

I’ve been there, scrolling through my Instagram or twitter or whatever social media platform, seeing people’s ‘before’ and ‘after’ pix, thinking ‘yeah, great, THEY can do it.’

These pictures never inspired me because they seemed so false.

It was just a picture.

The ‘before’ picture doesn’t explain how unhappy that person was with their appearance, what triggered them to make a change, what changes they made that weren’t some miracle, quick-fix, idiotic diet, or even how they got to that point in the first place.

Just as the ‘after’ pic doesn’t say what hell they went through to get to that point, how long it actually took, how many days where they thought they wouldn’t see their end goal, how many social events they had to turn down because they were sick of explaining to people that they don’t drink, don’t eat certain foods, have to be up early because they are dedicated to another plan.

Another term we all hear is ‘Mind over matter’, again, no one really takes the time to explain all this. Something has to spark off in the mind to make you want to completely overhaul your way of living to make a huge physical change.

So, for me, I had been comfort eating since Mom was diagnosed. I was exhausted from working full time, caring part time and living with an inept partner who wouldn’t think to prepare a meal for his burnt out, drained girlfriend.

It was an agonisingly slow process, from having to sever the relationship, which took months of back and forth. Repairing family relationships. Taking a step back and seeing that I was being guilted into staying in my job when I knew my family was infinitely more important.

Having to learn to take time out for myself, with all the running around making sure everyone else was taken care of, I neglected myself in so many ways.

These were just the first steps, and these took months. While all this was going on I was always cooking healthy food for Mom. Researching and inventing new recipes to make boring food interesting for her. I just forgot to make stuff for myself! Which lead to quick to cook foods, pastas, breads, potatoes. Fast food, always labelling it as a treat and wouldn’t do it again. I stopped going to dance classes, I stopped going to the gym because I wasn’t feeling it anymore, and so the spiral downwards began-where you eat to feel good, then you feel crap once the sugar high stops so you eat more and so on…

Once Mom was gone, I thought I was taking control by enrolling into a fat camp in Ibiza. Although it was a good experience, and I learnt that my body was a lot more resilient than my mind told me, it wasn’t a long term help.

Eating 1000 calories and exercises for 5 hours a day isn’t maintainable in the ‘real world’.

The weight went back on.

I buggered off to China. I felt massive! I went traveling, this helped me lose a bit, mainly through all the walking and sight seeing and attempting to make healthy choices which were generally cheaper!

Back in the UK, I joined some kickboxing classes and eventually found some confidence again, I made the decision (just in time) to hire a personal trainer.

I had always put off hiring a personal trainer on the basis that I’m not an idiot, I know what food is good and what is bad and that exercise is imperative.

But without a plan or someone to answer to, I was my own worst enemy.

Cain of GB Fitness required me to complete a questionnaire about basically everything!

He designed a meal plan and several exercise plans for me.

Just after the first meeting I felt hope.

Someone believed in me.

Yes, I paid him, but it’s also in his best interest for his business and his reputation that I succeed.

So I am now beginning to see the pain and glory behind those many ‘before and after’ pictures.

I am learning all the time while I change my lifestyle-and that is the key-it’s a lifestyle change. No quick fix, no fluctuating weight, just bloody hard work, food prepping all the damn time to make sure you don’t slip. Watching as your friends order three course meals while you try and inconspicuously eat your chicken and veg out of a Tupperware and hope you don’t get kicked out of the pub! Drinking water, lemon water, green tea, when sometimes you just want a full fat coke!

2014 is when I started piling on the weight, we are nearing the end of 2017 and I’m still not where I want to be physically, but I’m definitely where I want to be mentally.

And for me, that was about 90% of the battle. Getting my mind to believe I could achieve this goal!

And even though I’m not looking how I want to, I will share my progress photo.

I want to re-iterate, this is a BEFORE and CURRENT PROGRESS pic. This is a long-haul journey, no bullsh*t, just actual commitment to a plan.

I’m not putting this out here as a sob-story, I’m hoping readers can relate. You are not alone. There is always someone going through something similar. And you will come out the other side if you choose to.

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A Different kind of Journey 

After the effects of being in an unhealthy relationship, the grief of Mom, I turned to food. A lot. And not good food, take aways, pizzas, and my all time vice-chocolate. If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, you will have read about my experience in the boot camp in Ibiza. A quick-fix, which didn’t last very long once I came back to the real world! It got to the point where I felt like I tried everything. I’m an intelligent human being, I KNOW I should eat healthy foods and exercise more, that’s just common sense! But actually following those general rules when your emotions are up and down like a yo-yo is hard when you have no self control! 

So I employed a Personal Trainer. 

I put it off for so long because I genuinely thought I could do it by myself. 

Getting help was one of the best things I’ve done this year. I actually have a plan I can stick to, I’m accountable to someone, and I’m seeing results, albeit slowly, but I feel like the excess weight will actually stay off with this lifestyle change.
And that’s the key to all this, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle choice. 


Moving to London has also been challenging during this transition. Socialising in London calls for a lot of drinking. I’ve been called boring several times, and received a lot of weird stares when I’m offered a drink and I refuse. 

All this behaviour has made me realise I’m actually lucky as I don’t need alcohol to enjoy my night. I still talk to everyone, I still dance like no one is watching, and I don’t have the hangover or crave bad carbs the next day! 
So once I get to a point I’m happy with, I may even share my before and after pix. So watch this space…
https://www.gbfitness.com

London!

Well, my feet haven’t touched the ground in the last few weeks. An opportunity came up to live with some friends in London and I took it! 

Since I’ve arrived I’ve been to several house parties, a comedy night, a cocktail event in Spitalfields market, and a movie premier where I met the actor who played Flash Gordon. All in the space of a week! 








And there’s plenty more where that came from. Only thing is, I’m not a big drinker, never have been, and I don’t have work yet. So the pressure of drinking expensive alcoholic drinks at every.single.social event is quite brutal. 

Luckily there is plenty to do which doesn’t involve drinking, or spending a lot of money!

I found a free art class where I started learning how to draw comic book characters, something I’ve never tried properly before, and also had a MMA taster which I enjoyed! Being away from the sea sucks but there’s plenty of parks to have a walk through to pretend you’re in the countryside.
So my current task is to find a job I love. Maybe a tough one but life is way too short to spend it doing something I don’t love. I’ve had enough of those jobs so far! I may sound smug, but that’s one thing grief has taught me, life CAN be snatched away at any point so why be miserable in life? 

Final day

The last thing I really wanted to visit was the American Museum of Natural History.


Not only for the fact they used this building as the inspiration for the set of ‘Night at the Museum’, but because dinosaurs are awesome!


Greeted by this bad boy as soon as you walk into the lobby.


Now, it gives you admission prices but then also tells you it’s a donation to help keep the museum running. So technically you could probably get in on a child ticket, as no one actually checked my ticket the whole time I was there!
I learned all about microbes, the Big Bang (the fact that the universe is infinite always blows my mind so I usually avoid the topic!) and of course…dinosaurs! 


Big Bang theatre, inside, a short film narrated by Liam Neeson. 



Rexy!




Look how happy this guy’s skull is! 







Life size blue whale hanging from the ceiling in the marine quarter.
I could have probably spent the whole day in here, but I was on a mission to see the Bethesda Fountain (as featured in ‘Enchanted’ and ‘Friends with Benefits’).
The walk through Central Park to get to the fountain took me over the row bridge.





Enjoyed watching people attempt to row boats on the lake, felt eyes on me and noticed some snapping turtles surfacing.



Final stop of the day took me to Big Daddy’s, a diner boasting the best milkshakes in New York.


It was good. 

And so ends an incredible week in a destination I’ve longed to visit since I can remember. 

Tower, Ghostbusters, John Travolta

 
Before I came to New York I was all about getting to the top of the Empire State Building. Once you start wandering around and see the highest building is the One World Trade Centre building and is also cheaper to go up…Empire what?


Up by there! 

The Americans like to make a little song and dance about the fabrication of this beast, with videos projected onto the walls as you’re corralled through the hallways, of construction workers on the verge of tears explaining how many ethnic background came together to build it (bet you there wasn’t any Welsh!) and even making the bold statement that it’s probably the most important building in America…I’m sure a few people may have different opinions.







Ghostbusters tour time! The firehouse that they used as their headquarters was under construction and covered in scaffolding which was a shame.




Luckily, to mark the building some Ghostbusters symbols have been painted onto the sidewalk.
We had heard of an American diner where the staff are all aspiring actors and actresses and they burst into song while serving…this I had to see.


Ellen’s Stardust Diner. You have to queue under a bubble machine but it’s definitely worth the experience if you like musicals, Disney songs and pop songs.



All musical’d out ready to find the next ghostbusters landmark-the apartment building that Dana and Louis reside in when they become possessed.



To finish the last full New York day, there was a screening of ‘Saturday Night Fever’ as part of the Central Park Film Festival, the theme, films shot here in New York. 


An amazing way to end the day.

And amazing last night in New York.

Brooklyn, shopping, sight seeing, pub.

Brooklyn felt more ‘New York’ to me, busier, ruder, and grittier.
I dragged everyone to see the building where ‘Brooklyn 99’ TV show is filmed from the outside. It was 27 degrees.

I was happy now. 

Onward to Brooklyn Bridge! Through Wall Street.



Got a bit caught up with the eclipse crowd. 



We stopped to try and see the eclipse for ourselves, and I indulged in food out of a van. If it’s good enough for the New Yorkers…


Burrito. My favourite. 


Obviously can’t see the eclipse in the photo, but it’s there. 




Shopping happened. I’m not a fan myself, and there’s nothing interesting to take photos of. So I got a milkshake from a little chocolate shop.



Back to some sight seeing. Empire State was up next! 




New York public library next, I geeked out a little here as the film ‘Ghostbusters’ used this building!



Behind the library, in Bryant Park, an outdoor film screening was taking place. I had wanted to do one of these, until I saw the crowd at this one! 


Back through Times Square.




Peter had to take a pic of his favourite eatery…


And then we found Gray’s Papaya, as featured in ‘Fools Rush In’. It’s cheap and good for New York. $2.50 for a hot dog. 



That’s what over ten miles of walking around New York looks like. 

A pretty, sh***y city

Firstly, apologies for the radio silence, took some time to chill out and get used to being back home.
Also, to me, the whole point of writing and publishing it is that there is something interesting to actually write about. Me lounging around in a hammock soaking up the limited UK sunshine does not make for a riveting read! 

 

That’s not to say I did absolutely nothing, there’s been a few summer fayres and events, like the Natural Living Expo, held in the National Botanical Gardens of Wales. 
The venue always worth a visit, even in the Welsh weather. 

I conquered the hay maze! Also received an unusual back massage whilst laying on my back. I was in bits the next day, in a good way.
The whole event consists of plenty of stalls, all centred around natural living and health, mental and physical. All put together by the Old Mill foundation.
A more local event was the Gower Chilli festival. Celebrating the many ways you could possible add chilli to anything, I like chilli but draw the line at it being in cake, beer or gin. But that’s just me! 





My favourite event of the ‘summer’ in Swansea so far has been the outdoor screening of ‘Twin Town’. A movie set and filmed in Swansea. Everyone who was of age at the time it was released knows the words off by heart, and after 20 years the city celebrated its anniversary by having a movie screen placed in Singleton park, a band playing songs featured in the film, and even the Welsh Male Voice Choir as a grand finale.

Goosebumps.





http://www.natural-living-expo.co.uk/

http://gowerchillis.com/

https://cinemaandco.yapsody.com/