a setback isn’t the end | unfitness

2019, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

It’s been a hot minute since I did a little update on my ‘unfitness’ and for anyone else on a similar journey to me, I thought it was time for a little run down!

So far this year it’s been difficult – after Christmas and into February, my mental health took a nose dive and consequently any motivation or desire to look after myself (tasks like taking off my make-up and brushing my teeth were basically Everest to me). But overall, my step count was still on target and I was doing okay with food so my progress was much slower but still progress.

Now I’m ready to tackle it all head on and build it up again!

[ f o o d   /   d i e t ]

I’ve found what works the best for me is simple repetition – I really don’t mind having the same thing 5 times a week and then I can allow myself the freedom to be a bit more lenient at the weekends (usually with some sort of cheese and bread meal). This is working really well for me! I’ve always noticed the most progress is when I’m focused on diet and don’t put any pressure on myself for exercise.

For dinners it’s always a compromise – at the moment everything seems to be super busy  so there’s a fair bit of eating out and having meals beyond my control, but when I’m home I make sure I eat as many vegetables as I can and try to be sensible with portion size.

Overall, I’m still training myself back down to smaller portion sizes but I feel like I know how to tackle this and I feel okay about it!

[ f i t n e s s   /   e x e r c i s e ]

Half term has been and gone, I’ve had a week away at Centre Parcs doing 10,000+ steps a day and swimming 5 times in a week and now I’m back to normal life and self motivating exercise!

Tap classes have started up again (I’m sat waiting for my second one of the day as I write this!), I’m aiming to hit my step goal 4 days a week and do one additional workout. I’m not particularly enjoying workout out at home because most of the rooms in my house are quite small and there’s just not enough space (nor is it warm enough for me to go out and use the garden yet!). This one I’m still figuring out – I’m trying some other free apps and mostly being guided by letting the rest of my life fall into more of a routine and then fitting in workouts around that.

My best tip – if you want to follow fitness people on social media, don’t follow the ones who make you compare yourself and feel bad or the ones who make it seem like a massive chore. Someone I went to school with has committed to working out seven days a week to train for climbing Mont Blanc and watching her share and talk about her training has really motivated me to workout! Not quite to the same extreme but seeing her so happy and her progress is really inspiring.

[ w h a t   n e x t ? ]

As a said – finding a routine, getting to a point where my appetite is smaller and figuring out where at home workouts fit in to my life at the moment. I’m hoping to have taken and passed my driving test by April/May time and I think when I’m at a point where I can drive myself to the gym and maybe afford a session with a personal trainer I’ll be more motivated to get out the house and workout. Getting out the house is normally the solution for me!

But as always – all tips, tricks and hacks welcome! If you have any advice please do leave it in the comments down below.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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how I lost 16lbs without dieting

2019, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I feel like I’ve been banging on about how I’m trying to lose weight in literally everything I make or post. But here we are again because losing weight is really hard so if I can contribute anything and help someone, I’m going to try!

I really dedicatedly started trying to lose weight (and started seeing results) at the beginning of October. Now, nearly 4 months later I’m 16lbs down, I’m on my way to being fitter and I really feel like I’m making sustainable life changes! All without going on any fad diet or ridiculous workout program that makes you want to vomit. So, I thought I’d just have a little chit chat about the steps I took to get to this point, where I see my progress going in the future and how I’m going to maintain a healthy weight when I get there.

Let’s give a little bit of context – when I was a teenager, I was so convinced I was huge. I felt fat, I thought everyone thought I was essentially an elephant waddling round school and alongside that my main source of exercise being dance meant I was surrounded by skinny gorgeous girls in leotards and the fact my arms wobbled and I had that little stomach pouch (that basically every woman has) was literally the end of the world. At that point I was wondering somewhere around 12 stone/13 stone. Looking at height/weight charts, I was on the heavier end of healthy, but I was healthy.

Then I went to uni, got a boyfriend and had to massively cut down the amount of dancing I was doing. And here we have a recipe for packing on the pounds.

Without going into (even more) detail, by the time I moved home from uni in July last year I was approximately 5 stone heavier than when I left. Even though I didn’t actually look that drastically different.

  • step 1cut out the snacks

My biggest problem and the first thing I wanted to address was that when I was hungry, I just found something to eat. I knew I had to get used to not snacking throughout the day so it was a couple of painful weeks of being absolutely ravenous and craving every carb under the sun, I really noticed a change in my body’s eating habits and it kind of blew me away, because I think I’d tricked myself into believed that it couldn’t change and I would always be that hungry.

It feels awful at the beginning but it does get better and it does get easier I promise.

  • step 2 – think about what you’re eating and try to make healthier choices

I know this sounds so ridiculously vague and I definitely don’t know enough about nutrition but I know that vegetables are good, pastry is a complete no go, carbs are okay in moderation – little things like that! Basically everything is okay in moderation. I plan it so during the week I’m much stricter – I have my cornflakes for breakfast, roast vegetables with cous cous for lunch, a reasonably healthy dinner and 200 calories of dessert snack – then at the weekend I’ll maybe have a toastie for lunch, a McDonalds meal and a Saturday night dessert treat. Within reason of course but doing this I’ve been losing 1-3 lbs every week.

You don’t need to eat foods like kale and avocado and spinach if you don’t like them – every healthy eating recipe I’ve ever looked at includes those kinds of foods, quinoa and seeds and things but I don’t like them. I know that the vegetables I’m eating are good for me, even if these ‘superfoods’ would be better, I’m going to work within what I like and what I can afford. It’s all about balance and learning and we all progress at our own rates.

People will try to tell you that everything is bad – I’ve had people try to tell me that I shouldn’t have sausages, cous cous makes you bloated and hot chocolate is really bad for you but I’m happy with my diet and it’s working for me and it’s sustainable which is the whole point of this, otherwise I might as well just go on a diet.

The other thing I’ve found with making healthier choices is that I really understand now when people say they feel groggy after eating unhealthily – I think it was over Christmas I really started to feel the impact that the change in my eating habits brought and it wasn’t great, but it was also really interesting because it meant that I’d been eating well enough that eating badly made an impact! I really felt it! And that motivated me to start eating well again and it was so refreshing.

Step 3 – be more active

I don’t mean go to the gym or hire a personal trainer or go mad spending lots of money on a program that ‘guarantees results in two weeks’ (I’ve already bought it, it’s not worth it) – I mean literally being more active. For me, my FitBit is a god send because keeping track of my steps and heart rate really helps me see that I’m doing enough each day. I like to change my step goal every week, so I look at the total number of steps for the previous week, then I figure out how many steps I need to do per day to beat it the following week. I think this is a good long term plan because it makes doing more steps part of your everyday life and slowly builds up how much exercise you’re doing.

And then when you feel ready you can start introducing more traditional workouts if you like – I started going to tap classes at my old dance school and I use the Nike training app to build a program that works for me and do workouts at home.

Being back at tap has shown me so much about myself – the whole reason I started this routine to be healthier was because I was noticing I couldn’t do simple things like jump, run up the stairs, I even noticed my walking pace was getting slower and I decided I didn’t want to live like this. I don’t want to be a mum that can’t jump and dance with her kids or isn’t physically fit and healthy enough to keep up with them, I don’t want to teach them bad habits so I’m making a change long before I actually have kids.

Not happening for another 7 or 8 years yet!

  • the next steps

I know that eating and exercising this way will only work to a point and then I will need to start exercising more to get the results that I want. So looking ahead to that I’m going to work out more, building on my current scheme of 1-2 workouts a week for more intense, longer and potentially more frequent workouts. I’d like to get into running and start each day with a walk or a run but that’s very much a work in progress, going to keep walking for now.

When I can drive I want to get a gym membership and actually go to a gym (currently I live just a bit too far away to walk and I can’t afford it) – one of my goals for the year was to have a personal training session. Whether it’s just one or I can afford to have consistent sessions, I want to learn more about weight training, the right kind of working out and how I can progress more in the future to continue losing weight.

In the long game, my goals are to be slim and healthy and then work on getting a bit more toned once I’ve lost the weight (I explained it more in this video) but that will probably be months if not a year or two down the line so I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

So that’s everything I’ve done and learnt up to this point! I’m always looking for new recipes and new workouts – I’m going to have a go at some FitBit workouts and I might have a look at some Kayla Itsines workouts but 1) her app is expensive and 2) the workouts I’ve done from Facebook videos have been killer so definitely not ready for it yet.

Also a step I kind of forgot about – drink 2 litres a day, preferably water but I don’t like water and the juice I drink is sugar free and basically water anyway. Obviously 2 litres of cola isn’t going to help your teeth or your diet.

If you have any recommendations or suggestions for new recipes to try, workouts I should have a go at or any advice for losing weight without cutting food groups or anything drastic, please to leave a comment down below! I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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why goals are so important to me

2019, goals, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

Can I only write about goal setting and resolutions and pushing myself? No, I swear there’s a point to this post!

This is the time of year where everyone shuns New Year’s Resolutions – “why wait for a new year? Re-invent yourself whenever you like!” – yeah I totally get that and fully support that, but also why not be motivated by the new year? I write little goals for myself every month to check in with my progress and refocus, every month is a bit like a new year for me.

I’m someone who very much is motivated by a new week or a new month and if the new month starts on a Monday? Lads I’m a new woman, it’s a miracle.

But why do I like setting myself goals so much? Well for one, while I’m working freelance from home, it gives me some sort of structure and purpose when I wake up each morning. Perhaps this sounds a little melodramatic but I’m sure many people can empathise how difficult it is to get out of bed when you have no reason to and the whole day is just a challenge to fill.

For two – it’s a good way for me to make sure I’m still growing and progressing and developing both professionally and personally. In some aspects of my life, I’m happy to maintain them as they are – let them grow in their own way – but there’s other aspects that I don’t want to be stagnant, that I don’t want to get stuck in a rut in, so I want to make sure I can see that progress.

And for three – having goals took the productivity I was already passionate about and gave it a focus, especially after I finished uni. I’m not saying I liked the assignments or deadlines (the day I handed in my last essay was a bloody marvellous one) but I’ve always loved having a project and being able to put my focus onto something.

The other day I was sorting through my email folders (because I lead an incredibly exciting life) and I found this email from August 2016.

I’ll be honest I don’t know what this means about me – I can never remember what the letters I am are (cut to me trying to burn INFJ-T into my brain) – but hello strategy: constant improvement! I don’t know what being 95% turbulent and my role being a ‘diplomat’ means but that last categorisation of who I am just makes so much sense.

But then I did the 16personalities test again for a uni assignment in April 2018, nearly 2 years later and these were the results I got.

10% less introverted, 25% less intuitive, 28% less feeling, 2% more judging, and 1% more turbulent, but overall the same; still INFJ-T. How uni changed me!

I get it, going from talking about why I like goals to personality types might feel like a massive jump but hear me out on why they’re connected (other than explicitly labelling me as someone who strives for constant improvement).

  1. They just make me happy – I quite like putting myself in a box and sitting there, it makes me feel more defined as a person.
  2. Tests like this and finding out more about your personality in depth and what it says about you can help give you a purpose  – obviously there are 15 other personality types and even within those everyone has different percentages and aspects that make them individual, but sometimes having a test tell you a little bit more about yourself can make things a little easier.
  3. But on the other hand – just because it’s not part of your personality type doesn’t mean you can’t find something to focus on that motivates you.

Setting goals works for me, but beyond that I enjoy setting them for myself and seeing my progress. A lot of people don’t enjoy it and obviously that’s fine, but I do. I’ve read so many articles at this time of year that are definitive in “everyone should set goals“, “why new years is crap“, “setting goals won’t get you anywhere” – you know what? You do you. If you put the work in, things will work out.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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just an outfit post

2018, fashion, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I really want to make an effort to talk more about fashion and outfit posts on my blog because it’s something I love and I feel so much more confident about and it’s something I’ve made huge progress on this year so I want to continue documenting that!

So I thought it would be nice if I could find somewhere cute to take the photos on a trip to London on Monday and we walked past this shrubbery outside a restaurant with fairy lights in it and I decided it was festive and cute and this would be it.

However I didn’t think to not be holding the bulging purple bag of my new NASA sweater and the hat and scarf it was too warm for, I didn’t think to shrug off my coat and actually show off my outfit, nor did I think to get any close ups of nice details. But it’s all lessons to learn for the future – can’t rush outfit photos!

This pinafore dress has become such a favourite of mine this month – I bought it in Primark and I really didn’t think it would suit me at all but it’s so flattering! I decided to wear it with a New Look shirt (similar), an old TU from Sainsburys cardigan and my men’s Primark coat.

The shirt and pinafore is something I hadn’t tried before, usually I wear knitwear jumpers with this dress but I really loved the shirt and I’ve decided I’m definitely wearing it on Christmas day.

The tights however – don’t recommend! You think chub rub is just a summer problem? Nah mate – I love how they look and they’re generally so comfy but after 15,000 steps it was a bit much and they actually broke skin, definitely learnt my lesson. They’re okay if you’re staying at home or not walking too far but long term? Don’t bother!

This might be the only cute candid photo of me ever taken. Ironic that it was taken on Monday and then on Tuesday I spent 2+ hours letting a very nice lady called Gemma change dye and cut my hair. I’ll be posting some pictures on Instagram in the next few days but for now these are the photos that I’ll be keeping for a while!

Sometimes I have a proper complex about liking a picture of myself – I don’t want people to think I’m vain or self obsessed because I love a picture of myself but y’know what? It’s so rare that I don’t hate a picture of myself that I am going to sing and shout about this picture and post it everywhere because why not make the most of a photo I actually like?

I think this is the first outfit post I’ve ever written without any particular kind of purpose or message – normally I have a statement about body confidence or my improving relationship with my body but I think my last post about finding some confidence still rings true. I’m still not 100% confident in my body or what I’m wearing, but I don’t think anybody is all of the time! I’m not scared of trying new things and I’m really working on refining my wardrobe and ruthlessly getting rid of the stuff I don’t wear even if I love it.

I’m kind of working on a long term blog post on the process of making my wardrobe into something a bit like but not quite a capsule wardrobe – if you have any tips or advice that would be very much appreciated!

So learning to write about fashion without having a huge point or a big meaningful conclusion is the next step I think! Maybe I need to write less and just let the pictures do the talking (and spend longer getting much nicer pictures that actually show the outfit) but we all know I love a ramble.

And I like reaching a conclusion! In the last week or so a few old friends from school that I knew literally years and years ago have reached out to me on Instagram and said they really like my content and my positivity online.

Being told I’m positive is news to me, I always feel like I’m super depressing and negative and I’ve been desperately trying to make more of an effort with this and I feel it’s paying off. So I like my blog posts to reach a positive conclusion, even if it’s not got a weighty point or covers a topic like body positivity.

Sure, I just wrote a couple of paragraphs about positivity but I can’t smile in an outfit photo because I’ve got a lil bit of a complex about my smile at the moment. But that’s not the point!

I really like this outfit, this pinafore and the fact it coordinates so well with my Dr Marten’s. It’s only from Primark but it’s really opened my eyes to trying things that ‘don’t stereotypically fit my body type’ and giving things a chance! Yes, I’m trying to change my body shape and this time next year I think I’ll have a whole different level of fitness and hopefully be a fairly different dress size, but coming to terms with my body and accepting it for what it is? It’s such a useful life skill to have that peace with yourself.

So no, I don’t have a ‘point’ – I wanted to write an outfit post, I thought it would be fun to take the pictures in London and it’s an outfit for the sake of an outfit. I like sharing and posts without a big conclusion are definitely a work in progress!

As always, thank you to my gorgeous boyfriend for taking the photos – we’re both getting the hang of this ‘fashion blogger’ malarky and I’m so grateful to have my number 1 cheerleader as my go to photographer.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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an accidental week off, but that’s okay

2018, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

This week has been my biggest week since I finished uni – I’ve barely been at home and I’ve definitely not had the time or energy for creative projects as usual.

So days went on and the weekly vlog hasn’t been uploaded, I didn’t post a blog post on Wednesday, I couldn’t film, edit or upload a second YouTube video and my usual Saturday blog post was a mere dream.

I wanted to post something just to acknowledge it – I don’t think anyone’s on tender hooks waiting to see why I haven’t uploaded but on two sides I wanted to say something and I needed to write about it for my sake and for anyone reading.

I’ve felt a bit flat this week, but I always do when I don’t feel productive and I don’t get everything on my list done, but I need to train myself out of it because at the end of the day? Not forcing myself to write, film and edit late into the night was better for me in the long run and practising the self care to not be bothered is more important than beating myself up about missing deadlines I set for myself.

Obviously if you’re at uni or work this isn’t as flexible because deadlines are important, but similarly if something goes wrong and things have to change, deadlines need to get shifted then letting yourself be emotionally invested and be negatively effected by those things isn’t worth the heartache.

I’m still astounded by the positive impact the mentality of ‘everything is hard, make it worth it’ and the coil have done for my mental health and positive outlook – months, even years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to decide not to let anything effect me like this but with positive mental practice, I’ll be able to take changes like this in my stride and won’t beat myself up for it.

Especially over a hobby like blogging and my YouTube channel – this super busy week has shown me what a working week might look like and has shown me that maybe I won’t be able to sustain this creative outlet when I do get into working full time but being aware of that and allowing myself flexibility is a good step for preparing for that. But that’s more of a 2019 problem!

I’m excited for the new year and applying my new mindset to what I do – 2019 is going to be the year that everything changes and I’m not going to sit around and wait for it to happen.

And I’m not going to waste my time getting hung up on missed blog posts and dwindling subscriber counts! (Still working and not caring about that one, but it doesn’t matter and that’s what I need to remember)

Give yourself a break, you’ve achieved a lot.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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I’ve lost a stone! | unfitness update

2018, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I’m so glad I decided to document my fitness and weight loss journey because I’m really settling into it and I’m so glad I will have these posts, videos and other tracking methods to look back on and see how much I’m achieving! I’m feeling a rebrand is coming for this blog and fitness might be a much bigger part of what I write about as it’s now a much bigger part of my life but we’ll get to that!

[ f o o d   /   d i e t ]

I still feel a bit lost in terms of nutrition and not knowing anything about it but I feel like I’m figuring out what’s good in terms of feeling like I’m eating well. I never understood when people talked about eating bad food and feeling sluggish but lads I get it now. I went to Southampton a couple of weeks ago and it was all very rushed and we got food where we could and after two days of McDonalds I felt so tired and unmotivated. So that’s new!

But my routine is good – I aim for breakfast before 8am (have moved from Cheerios to off-brand Cornflakes), I’m loving having roasted vegetables and cous cous for lunch (sometimes I’ll put a couple of chopped sausages in there too) and dinner’s have been pretty consistently not awful. I’ve definitely noticed that when mum and I are both really busy a plan goes out the window and we do what we can and going into the New Year we’re all just going to get busier so it’s adapting and finding ways to cook healthy food quick, or using the slow cooker more.

[ e x e r c i s e   /   w o r k i n g   o u t ]

Working out is so good – since my last update I’ve finished the four week Nike Training App plan and it was challenging but I really enjoyed it and I’ve set it up to do another ‘Start Up Plan’ program! I think the workouts are really suitable for my level of fitness (or lack thereof) and for a free app, I’m so impressed by it. I’m also doing two tap dance classes a week and I’m generally doing more steps per day too – overall I’m doing some form of exercise about five days a week and I’m so pleased that I’ve realised that exercising that much doesn’t mean going to the gym or killing yourself for an hour every day.

It’s all so integrated into my life that it doesn’t feel force and I’m really enjoying it – it’s taking me years to get to this point but that’s persistence! It’s not perfect yet – sometimes I wake up and working out or going for a walk is the last thing I want to do but I really feel like I’m more in the ‘progress’ stage than the ‘work in’ stage.

[ c h a n g e s ]

A new thing worth mentioning is that I got the coil in November (every time I talk about it I feel like I’m being so TMI but talking about contraception or menstruation really shouldn’t be TMI and I’ve had so many wonderful open conversations with people since I’ve mentioned it so I’m continuing to talk about it!).

I might do a whole post or video all about my experience with it so far when I’ve had it for a bit longer, but now that my body is getting used to having hormone interference again, it’s pretty much settled down and I’ve got it all under control. There were little fluctuations but mostly it didn’t effect my weight loss so fingers crossed that I can maintain the downward line!

Regarding the mental health, now that my body’s had a few weeks to settle into these new hormones, I feel like I’ve discovered this new positive mindset which has really opened my eyes and helped me focus on better things – I spoke about it in my November Favourites video and that’s my favourite description. Figuring out that everything is hard and facing difficulties doesn’t mean I’m hard done by, that’s just how life is, has made facing the hard things and accepting that if I want something to change then I need to work for it so much easier and I feel so much more motivated and productive because of it.

In conclusion, I feel like I’m really settling into working out and making it a proper part of my life routine which has been a goal of mine for so long. Food is kind of an ongoing battle again but I’m fighting, contraception is difficult to adjust to but my new favourite motto is really getting me through – I’m going to make all of this work. Just watch me.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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is this confidence? | outfit

2018, fashion, lifestyle, mental health, photography

Hello!

I’m really getting into fashion at the moment – I touched on this in an outfit post before but for a long time I felt trapped in leggings and oversized t-shirts and jumpers because I’d put on a lot of weight and I didn’t feel like I could justify experimenting with anything else.

But I’m moving on – I’m broadening my mindset and telling myself I deserve to experiment with fashion too! I’m also losing weight so a win on both fronts.

And I’m so loving experimenting with new styles – funky trousers that aren’t jeans or leggings are my jam at the moment (especially if they have an elasticated waist!) (and yes I just used the word ‘funky’ unironically).

trying with all my might to be edgy… (cardigan – TU at Sainsburys, tee – dorkface etsy, trousers – Nutmeg at Morrisons, boots – Primark)

I have a lot of t-shirts, I really need to have a ruthless sort out and throw away from of the ones I know I will never wear but I’m enjoying figuring out alternatives – different shirts and jumpers, mixing smarter looking trousers with more informal sweaters and shoes that might not be the most flattering but I think they look cool and they’re comfy so why not?

The feeling of leaving the house nervous and if I’m out in town or on the bus or popping to the shops, I often felt like the world was staring at me – if I heard laughter I’d assume it was aimed at me and I’d done something wrong for one reason or another. But it’s not! I now feel like I love what I’m wearing and I love this style I’m finding and I feel more me than I ever have.

It’s all a work in progress – whilst I’m in the process of redecorating my bedroom and I’ve just finished building a new wardrobe and transferring all my clothes over, I know I definitely need to have a sort out and a clear out, maybe even sell some of my clothes on depop or one of those sites? I’m really thinking about starting a capsule wardrobe and making myself think about the longevity of what I’m wearing – I need to stop buying things for the sake of memories or because it’s got Hufflepuff on it (very guilty) but I definitely need to do some more research first.

I’m really liking sharing what I’m wearing on instagram and writing about it here – it’s not a vanity thing, I don’t think anybody should be inspired by what I wear, but does any fashion blogger? I don’t think any fashion influencer probably didn’t start out thinking ‘wow I the way I dress is so great I need to tell other people so they start dressing like me’ – it’s almost certainly that they were really passionate about what they bought and wanted to share it!

Because who doesn’t get excited when you get a really good haul of new clothes?

Maybe one day I’ll be writing outfit posts that aren’t deep rooted in body image and self esteem, but for now – I’ve done my time talking about how difficult I find it to like what I see in the mirror (and boy when I’m at my tap dance classes seeing my reflection in the mirror is still bloody difficult) but having these positive posts about improving my relationship with my body is something that I 100% want to document and promote!

If you have any tips on having a capsule wardrobe or ways to ruthlessly cut down how many clothes you have please do let me know! I’m a bit of a stranger to all this!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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friend break-ups

2018, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a while and then yesterday, I uploaded my ‘things I’d tell my teenage self’ video and I touched on this subject and I wanted to make a full blog post about it, because I have a lot to say.

I want to emphasise this with obviously this is only one side of the story – there’s always a part of my brain that when I talk about friends I’ve lost that screams that maybe I’m the one in the wrong, maybe I’m just an awful friend and the problem here is me. I’m aware of this, but with that said let’s get on with it.

Losing a friend is the worst – there are songs and films and books about relationships and break ups but if you really listen to the message of those mediums you’ll find that in most cases you can empathise in a similar way about friend break-ups.

I seem to make friends with a lot people who don’t put the same effort in as I do or don’t reciprocate or value my friendship in the same way I do, maybe it’s because they just don’t like me that much and yeah that crosses my mind a lot. But it’s when someone tells you that they love having you around and then still don’t really show it is when I start to get upset.

And this is the point where I test it. So maybe ‘testing’ friendships isn’t the healthiest approach, but the way I test it is I stop being the one to reach out first – I don’t start a conversation, I’m not the one to arrange going for a coffee or whatever. And that’s when I know that testing it was worth it because I never hear from that person again. Maybe they’re just grateful that I finally stopped bugging them but in some cases, years later, they’ve messaged me again and said ‘it’s been years since we talked!’ and I’m like yeah, I wonder why that is. At that point I don’t reply.

On the other side, sometimes a ‘friend’ will message me first but it’s only when they’re sad or something bad has happened and they want someone to boost their ego and I’m happy to be a person to talk to, but in a world of mental health problems if they’re going to lean on me so heavily when they’re sad I need to be able to lean back and I couldn’t, so I was ignored and I crumpled.

(that metaphor went surprisingly well)

But this isn’t a pity party! I’m not trying to say that I’ve never had a good friend, I do have friends that are very close to my heart and I’m very grateful to call my friends. I’m not trying to evoke sympathy or portray myself like a victim or anything.

What I’m saying is if you’re the person being leaned on – stop letting them lean, don’t use your precious emotional energy, passion and love helping someone else feel better when it wouldn’t even cross their mind to do the same for you. Focusing on the people that really care about you will be so much more fulfilling and make your heart so much happier.

Letting people go is hard, really hard, especially when they turn to you in dark times and leaving them there feels like the worst thing in the world and makes you feel like an awful person but you’re not, sometimes for your own sake you have to prioritise yourself.

It hurts, and you can justify mourning a lost friendship in the same way people mourn relationships – sometimes it’s someones fault, sometimes it’s on mutual terms, sometimes for your own sake you just have to let them go but just like relationships, it does get better. You don’t spend your entire life being sad about that person, you find new people, better people and life goes on.

Just to disclaim again, I’m aware that every story has two sides and whilst on one side this is how I’ve interpreted it, I could be wrong and my brain tells me basically every day that I’m an awful human and everything’s my fault anyway ha ha #lol (covering up my sadness with sarcasm as per).

I do have a handful of incredibly close friends and I wouldn’t trade them for anything – I know I could message them whenever and I hope they feel the same about me. I don’t want them to feel invalid because of what I’ve written about other people in this post so to clarify: I don’t think this of all the people I at one point or another called friends.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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slow progress is progress! | unfitness update

2018, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I didn’t intend to write this blog post today at all, in fact I’d written out an entire blog post about relationships inspired by my three year anniversary with my boy on Monday (remember, remember the 5th of November but not for the reason you think!) but then this morning I did a new workout program thing and I felt so good and inspired and motivated that I was super inspired to do a fitness update, so here goes!

As I’ve documented here, there and everywhere I’ve been on somewhat of a health kick with my diet, I’m not ‘dieting’ but I’m making sustainable life changes that I needed to make in order to live a healthier life.

Going hand in hand with this, at the end of October I got in contact with the Principle of my old dance school and offered to help out if they needed anything. So I now work as a volunteer on reception in exchange for free dance classes and with that in mind, I’ve been going to two tap classes and dancing again!

It’s so silly, but I’d put on so much weight that stupid things like running, going up to stairs too fast and jumping were just completely out of my comfort zone because it hurt but I went to tap class and I jumped again. I tap spring toe hopped my way around the studio for 45 minutes and I had the time of my life, I love tap so much and I can’t express how much I enjoyed it.

So now that going to tap class and being a receptionist were part of my routine, I was ready to put some structure back into my life – and I was ready to try working out again.

I’d fallen out of love with the treadmill and the rowing machine, but I remembered I used to love using the Nike Training app and they could build programs based on your equipment availability, fitness level and free time. So whilst I was having my breakfast this morning I set up a new program, fit the workouts to times that suited me and then I did a 30 minute beginners low intensity floor to core workout.

It was hard, I’ll be honest it was quite challenging – it pointed out things I need to mention at the doctors next week (I’ve got lots of back/joint problems, will update if it’s relevant!) but I did it! Half an hour of mostly consistent muscle workout, the only exercises I really didn’t feel comfortable doing were the ones where I had to put body weight pressure on my wrists because apparently my wrists are really weak? Learn something new every day!

But I felt so amazing after I’d done it! I lay on my bed just to get my breath back a bit and I felt on top of the world – I felt like I wanted to look after myself more and I was more motivated to eat well today so I don’t ruin the exercise. It’s little things like I wanted to use a body scrub in the shower and moisturise because I’ve noticed my skin has been a bit dry recently and I actually found the motivation to do something about it.

It was the first time in weeks that I updated the ‘unfitness’ highlight on my Instagram and I actually really enjoyed looking back on the progress I’ve made. Since I started that highlight 14 weeks ago I’ve noticed a significant difference in my physical fitness (even if it’s not ‘good’ it’s way better than it was before), my approach to the whole thing is less ‘I have to do it so I need to get it done’ and now more working with my body and my mind to find something that works for me and that I enjoy long term and I’m seeing results for the first time in years!

I’ve been tracking my weight in my bullet journal since June and between June and September, I was floating around the same weight within 5 or 6 pounds and it was a number I hated. On my October 1st weigh in I noticed significant loss and in the month since then I’ve worked hard, both on diet, exercise and restraint and I’m now getting close to having lost almost a stone. It’s nothing revolutionary, no diet pills or crash dieting, just making healthier life choices and boy I had the weight to lose.

This isn’t the end of my journey (sorry mum, she hates that word!) but I’m so excited to discover a healthier and fitter me – I will have to continue and adapt, learn more about food and nutrition and when the weight loss starts to tail off I will have to focus more on exercise and maybe within a year I’ll have the body I want and I’ll have a positive relationship with exercise and diet, as well as it being sustainable and long term.

My advice (not that anyone asked or qualified to answer) if you feel like you’re stuck or you’re bored – listen to that part of your brain, maybe you need a few weeks off, but you’ll find inspiration in something you enjoy. Going for a walk, going to the gym, doing yoga videos, finding a class – there is a way, you just have to put effort into working with your mind and body to find it.

As always, any tips or suggestions are welcome as I still have a very long way to go and could use all the help I can get!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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top 5 self care tips

2018, mental health

Hello!

I’ll be honest, this week has already been tough and it’s only Wednesday – I won’t go into details but it has made me think about what I need to do to look after myself, and I’m working on listening to my body more and making sure I was doing something that wasn’t detrimental for me in the long run.

The thing with self-care is that it’s all very personal – you can watch a hundred different self care videos and read blog posts but none of them will be a quick fix or perfect for you, not quite anyway. But they can give you ideas – something to try that maybe you hadn’t thought of, different things work for different people but sharing what works for an individual might be useful for someone else, which is why we should share!

I’ve made a video on this before – it was about a year ago and things have changed since then which is why I want to talk about it again.

(But here it is in case anyone fancies a watch!)

So this is my new list of self care practices that I’m using right now!

  1. Properly resting – not keeping myself busy, or trying to tick something off my to do list. Not necessarily sleeping but taking time to just watch TV or YouTube without doing anything else – not trying to multitask. Giving my brain a break and not trying to max out productivity at all time. And also sleeping more regularly – I go to bed about 10pm and get up between 7am and 8am and that’s working quite well for me at the moment.
  2. Spending time cooking – I find cooking really therapeutic and when I’m making something that doesn’t involve just chucking it in the oven and serving it, when I really cook and make something from scratch it’s just so satisfying. Especially where I’m really trying to focus on my diet and losing weight at the moment (which is proving quite the challenge for my mental health, I’m incredibly self aware of dark though patterns, it’s draining) so cooking with lots of vegetables and knowing exactly what’s going in to what I’m eating and it makes the diet a bit easier on the brain. But spending an hour so a night on making dinner just really helps me focus and relax.
  3. Talk to someone supportive – this is quite a personal one, as I’m aware that not everyone is lucky enough to have someone supportive in their circle that they trust to talk to when they’re feeling down, but I’m so glad that I have someone that does. But there are some people that are the opposite of supportive – they make you feel like a literal pile of poo because they don’t understand, saying things like ‘it’s fine just calm down’, ‘just cheer up’ or even ‘you don’t have depression or anxiety, stop attention seeking’ (all real life examples) and those people 1) aren’t worth your time and 2) when you’re feeling low anyway, just don’t surround yourself with these people if it’s possible. Seek support in the people that really love and care about you.
  4. Spend some time outside – a gentle walk (as opposed to an exercise walk, I’m very unfit so walking is exercise for me), just sitting in the garden or even sit near an open window if that’s what works for you but just being near fresh air, taking a deep breath and having a few moments of calm can be really beneficial, especially if you’re in a moment of panic. Maybe meditate if that’s your jam! I’d like to be at a point that exercise is my go to when I’m feeling low or anxious but I’m not there yet, because I’m very unfit but the wheels are in motion and it’s officially a work in progress.
  5. Listen to your body – sometimes, all you want to do is lie in bed and sob uncontrollably and not have dinner because you messed up a new recipe and the thought of eating is scary and makes you feel physically ill (cough cough), this probably isn’t the healthiest tip but sometimes, you need to just let yourself be sad. The important bit of this part is if you’re going to let yourself wallow, is that you don’t continue it – it’s a short term thing! Let yourself be sad and not eat (just, an example) for that one night or one day and then the following day, eat properly, get some stuff done, get back to it. Letting yourself wallow in feelings isn’t a bad thing as long as you know it’s temporary and short term. Maybe you won’t feel better the next day but the wallowing is done.

I’m not a mental health professional and I don’t recommend that anyone takes any advice from this, I know that I like engaging with content like this because talking about mental health is important and should be talked about. I don’t know if this will help, but I’m trying.

Mental health is a tricky topic – it’s incredibly individual and what works positively for one person might not have the same effect on someone else, so it’s about working on listening to your own body and figuring out what makes that ache in your chest go away.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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