September Goals

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

I’ve been doing these posts for about six months now and I find they really help me focus on specific tasks for the month, especially because I’ve integrated them into my bullet journal spreads.

However, in previous months I’ve done a review of the last months goals before setting my new goals for the month and I’ve decided not to do that this time – these reviews should be a personal reflection for me to adapt and respond to but I don’t think anyone else needs to know or cares about last months goals!

Last months goals went quite well, ironically, you can read that post here if you like!

September has always been my favourite month, whether it was because it was my birthday month, whether it was back to school I was excited for or just going into the Autumn/Winter season, September makes me happier and I’m excited for this month.

[ S E P T E M B E R   G O A L S ]

  • work 12 hours a week – I’m fortunate enough that my mum has let me work for her company as a kind of Office Assistant/PA/learning about business management person and she’s always been open to letting me help but I was so focused on graduate job hunting that I hadn’t accepted it till now. I want to dedicate specific time to working for her company and I’m starting with (minimum) 12 hours a week and I’m actually kind of excited about it.
  • write 20,000 words (667 a day) – last months writing challenge was a huge success so I wanted to up the stake a little bit – I wrote 15,000 words in August so I’m aiming for more this month! I’m basically training myself up before NaNoWriMo (50k in November) but I’m really enjoying the creative freedom that writing gives me and being in the mental position to write again, I just love it.
  • driving – guess who booked her theory test and her first lesson on a whim when she was tired one night? Yes, it was me. My theory test is towards the end of this month, my boyfriend will (hopefully) be taking his test soon and we’ve nearly got our own car too. Right now, I feel the same as I did when I was 17 – I don’t want to learn to drive, I just want to be able to drive but it’s not the simple so I’m biting the bullet and doing it. My first lesson is on the 7th so wish me luck!
  • maintain no pressure exercise – I’ve written a couple of posts now about exercise and I think it’s not a phase that I’ll get bored of? It’s been about four weeks now and I’m still integrating it into my routine? And I like it? I’m having to change it up quite a lot because I get bored or I feel like it’s not doing anything but I’m actually enjoying exercising and boy I need to lose weight so hopefully by this time next month I’ll actually be able to see some results!
  • positive job hunting – will she ever stop talking about job hunting? Probably not! Being an unemployed graduate (bar working for my mum) has really got to me mentally – I went for a job interview that I felt really good about and then I didn’t get it and I felt like giving up. So alongside feeling really mentally low, I just didn’t have the motivation to apply for anything else. However, I’m pulling myself out of it and I’m trying to get back into the habit of applying for jobs positively and not looking at it as a mindless chore that will never amount to anything because if that’s the attitude I have than it never will amount to anything! Even if it means taking it a bit slower, I want to maintain a positive relationship with applying for jobs.

I’ve tried to make these goals realistic and achievable – September is a time for new starts; going back to school, back to uni, back to work and I’m feeling that kind of motivation without having school, uni or a job to go into it but I’m making my situation right now work as best as I can.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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unfitness – when the going gets tough, listen to your body

2018, lifestyle

Hello,

I’ve gotten into a habit of blogging about something when it happens and then I become less interested or I find it harder to motivate myself and then in three months the cycle starts again. I’m determined not to let that happen with working out.

I wrote this unfitness post about starting a few steps back a couple of weeks ago and I was really excited, I was doing well at getting out of bed really early (well like 7am, that’s pretty early right?), doing 30 minutes of walking at various speed on the treadmill then having a shower and having a good productive day.

But hi this is bad mental health and it’s here to ruin your motivation to exercise!

Last week I managed one half hour yoga session which didn’t feel like it did a whole lot and one morning where I did ten minutes on the treadmill and ten minutes on the rowing machine. I didn’t even manage the ‘three times a week’ goal I set myself.

This is going to sound really melodramatic but hear me out: I feel like there is a hand around my heart right now and whenever I try to take a deep breath it closes a little bit. It’s an anxiety thing, I get it quite a lot but it makes exercising really hard, because whenever I try to push myself or do anything too strenuous breathing becomes a struggle and exercise is meant to make you a bit breathless but this is another level.

So I’m trying not to let this extended bout of anxiety stop me long term – I managed two sessions last week and it’s Tuesday as I’m writing this and I’ve just done my first session of the week and it was another ten minutes on treadmill/ten minutes on the rowing machine because I just can’t face doing any more.

(EDIT: I managed one more session that week (which was a 6km walk) and this week is looking more promising, follow me on Instagram if you’re interested in more immediate updates!)

But I did some. And at the end of the day I think that’s what matters – a part of my body is trying to tell me that I shouldn’t do the thing that’s good for me but I’m doing it anyway. It’s not a lot but it’s something and anything is better than nothing isn’t it?

I feel like I need to learn more about fitness and what I should be trying to like actually see some results but for now, I think I’m going to carry on doing what I’m doing and maybe one day I’ll be able to afford some Personal Trainer sessions. But trying is better than nothing and not only is it working out which is good for your body but it’s also proving you’re better than your mental health, you’re defying it!

It’s hard, but it’s worth it in the end.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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unfitness – starting a few steps back

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

I’ve blogged on a fair few occasions about ‘my fitness journey’ – posts like ‘I’ve started a new workout regime’, ‘I’m working out’, ‘I need to work out’ and so on and so on. Over the past year or so, having given up dancing after my second year at uni and even then, those dance training sessions were nowhere near as intense as when I was dancing before uni and my fitness levels and the amount of time I’ve spent exercising has gone down considerably over the last three years to basically nothing.

So now that I’m living with my mum for a bit, who has a treadmill in her garage, I’m doing 30 minutes walking on said treadmill and aiming for three times a week (two weeks in, going pretty well). And I’ve made a little highlight on my instagram that I’ve called ‘unfitness’ – I’ve been posting little rambles about my thoughts and feelings about working out when you’re (I’m) a larger lady, because whenever you look for ‘beginners’ workouts online or look for programs to follow and none of them cater for starting from literally nothing.

This whole idea actually came about from my rambles on Instagram – this is what I wrote after my first time on the treadmill:

To be honest, over the last year I’ve put on a lot of weight and not spent the time exercising that I have in the past, so consequently my fitness level is the lowest its ever been

That makes it harder to exercise but giving up just makes it worse – I’ve tried a bunch of different fitness programs and such this year and each one has proven how unfit I am, so it’s taking it back a step and finding what’s right for me

Right now, I’m walking for 30 minutes on a treadmill and in time I’ll be able to up that to a run but I’ve got to give myself that time

So from there, I started my highlight and continued to write about the progression I was making – I posted a couple of screenshots from my FitBit app about my heart rate and boomerangs of my feet on the treadmill (obviously) and my documenting my fitness had really begun!

My second post was a bit more difficult – I’d been thinking a lot whilst I was walking and this is what my second post was about:

Whilst walking this morning, I was thinking about how I got to this point where I’m so unfit that walking is exercise. Having moved home after finishing uni it felt natural to look into going back to dance classes but honestly? I’m embarrassed to go because I don’t think I could do it anymore.

It’s all a work in progress and it’s natural while I didn’t have the same dancing opportunities at uni and I was focusing on my degree that I’m not going to be in the same shape as I was when I was 18, but it’s still kind of disheartening.

And that’s not to say that what I’m doing right now isn’t right for me – is it right for me in what my body needs right now, I just miss dancing and feeling like an elephant that everyone’s laughing at

Got a little bit more personal! But I wasn’t going to let those negative thoughts stop me completely – a couple of days later I was back on the treadmill (7am seems to be the time for me to exercise, it works!) and these were my thoughts.

I’d posted a couple of screenshots regarding my heart rate and asked a couple of questions (to anyone who was willing to read all of my ramblings) about whether walking and cardio was enough to help my lose weight and then I wrote:

I’m documenting this partially for my benefit but partially because I know that at this point I wouldn’t feel comfortable going back to the gym for fear of judgement for not being fit enough and I don’t think it’s fair that people at different stages of their fitness journeys are being judged for it! If someone runs for an hour then does weight training or if someone walks on a treadmill for half an hour their training is valid and I feel like we don’t see enough of the latter! I don’t need to hide myself away because I’m a Size 18+ and my heart isn’t as good as other peoples.

I hope that’s okay.

And now, I don’t know how much I actually have to add! I have been on the treadmill since writing that last update and I don’t post anything because it was a busy day and I didn’t have the same free time to write what I was feeling up – this weekend I’m going to do my last of three sessions for the week and next week I’m going to step it up a bit to keep training and maintain that progress.

My hope is that one day I will be able to run (maybe I’ll sign up for a 5k or something?), maybe I’ll be toned and I’ll know what the weight machines at the gym will do and I hope to be supporting those who’s journey isn’t starting at the point that is ‘socially acceptable’! ‘Bikini body diets’ and ’30 day challenges’ just aren’t suited for everyone and I feel like every fitness journey deserves to be talked about and shared!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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January Favourites

2017, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello!

January has been a fairly eventful but a really slow month so I’m welcoming February with open arms. These are a few of the things I loved in the January that went on forever.

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Fitbit Flex: a new toy to help me lose weight! So far, no results but I am doing way more exercise and I love the app that goes with it, even before I had the Fitbit I used the app. I wrote about it in more detail earlier this week in my first venture into a proper health and fitness post: top 4 tips for starting a health kick.

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My bullet journal: again, I’ve written a blog post about this too but considering I couldn’t find the diary I wanted and I’m not sure if I’m doing a proper bullet journal or just making a lot of lists but it’s working for me and the more I use it the more I’ll get into the ‘bullet journalling’ part of the bullet journal. Again, fully post I wrote earlier is here: starting a bullet journal

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28 Day Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Guide – Kayla Itsines: another favourite I’ve already written about but that means I really like it, right? This book has really helped me understand my body and how I should treat it to get it the shape I want it to be. I’ll link it again in case you missed it before: top 4 tips for starting a health kick

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Attack on Titan: I know this is a picture of a game, this is not my favourite – the TV show is what I’m talking about! Lucas and I started watching it in the summer and now I’m a little bit obsessed. I’m really glad that season 2 comes out soon because I need more. It’s melodramatic and the episodes are too short but it’s just so compelling and there are some amazing female characters and I really like the music.

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Once Upon a Time: Sure, I’ve only just finished season 1 but I really do love it, I love fairy tales and Disney films and bringing it all together with brilliant actors and magic and flashbacks and Sebastian Stan and I have like five more seasons to catch up on.

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Strawberry and kiwi water: The first time I’ve ever taken a picture of an empty bottle (mostly because I’ve drunk all of the flavoured water I have). I’ve decided to quit coca cola in the past few weeks (17 days and strong) and this is a really nice and pretty healthy substitute and I’m going to buy so much of it next time I’m at Sainsburys. So much.

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Saltrock Clothing: It’s a very nice brand of clothes but it’s also a really nice place to work. But the clothes are genuinely really nice, some of the stock is 90% off right now so I thoroughly recommend going to give the website a look.

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One line a day – a five year memory book: as someone who has an intense fear of forgetting things, being able to look back on five years of memories when it gets to 2022 (now that’s a scary thought!) just makes me really happy. It’s part of my night time routine and it makes me really happy.

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Passengers: I really love films and I love writing about and discussing films and I really enjoyed this film – it was an awesome concept and brilliantly executed, the soundtrack was beautiful and it was so emotional, it was almost psychological in a way. I’m not sure if it’s still in cinemas but I thoroughly recommend seeing it.

(And not just for Christ Pratt’s lovely bottom)

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Gridtangle elephant: Right, this definitely needs some context – I follow bitsandclips on YouTube, Marie (bitsandclips) runs a crafting group called #cuppacraft and she often organises monthly challenges. This month was to do a line drawing, draw a 30-square grid over the top and colour in a square a day for the whole month (minus a day). I don’t normally do the crafting challenges because I’m no good at crafting but I thought I’d give this one a shot and I thoroughly enjoyed it – I loved how I planned out all the colours and how relaxing it was to do every day and I love how it turned out.

And those were the things I loved this month, if you liked this post give it a like and leave a comment about what you’ve been loving this month!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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top 4 tips for starting a health kick

2017, lifestyle, student

 

Hello!

This is another one from my ‘blog ideas‘ book which suggested ‘Your top 3 _ game changers’ – I’ve recently gone on a full on health kick because I’m really unhappy with my weight and I know I can talk about this topic with a little bit of knowledge behind it.

I’ve just started week 3 of a 28 day health (ish) plan and I thought I’d share the four things that really helped me get started and why I chose to do a 28 day plan.

Number 1 – I hit rock bottom

Obviously I don’t recommend this, but when I hit a certain weight it was the real kick up the bum I needed to actually started looking after my body, learn more about how to look after my body and do something about it. I used some Amazon vouchers I got for Christmas to buy a couple of weight loss books and I downloaded apps and I was ready to start.

Number 2 – Kayla Itsines’ The Bikini Body 28-Day Health Eating & Lifestyle Guide: 200 Recipes, Weekly Menus, 4-Week Workout Plan

I’ll be honest, the title is longer than I remember and the way I’m doing the plan deserves a big ‘ish’ but this book is a god send and I’ve already recommended it to a few people and my wonderful friend Nikki has actually bought it because 1) it’s brilliant and 2) I’m just so persuasive.

I love this book because it’s almost like having a personal trainer or a dietitian but without the price – it gives you guidance on how much of each food group you should be eating and what kind of exercise you should be doing, I just feel so much more informed about how I should be looking after myself.

In terms of the diet plan, I’m not following it day-to-day just because I’m quite a picky eater and I don’t want to make myself eat food I won’t enjoy and I want this diet to be sustainable, so I went through the whole book and wrote down all the recipes I was interested in or knew I’d like, then I drew out a four week plan and spaced out all the healthy recipes and filled in the rest of the days with healthy-ish recipes that I already knew and it’s not hard to follow because on some days I’m doing recipes that I know and love and on other days I get to try cooking a new thing and I love cooking so it’s a win-win.

For me, losing weight was a lot of being told what to do with my body to make it look better than it does now.

Number 3 – Nike+ training app

Again, being told how to work out works well for me. If I could afford the gym membership or the personal trainer I think I would but for now, I’m a student and that’s not going to happen. You can work out as much or as little as you like, you need no equipment and the app is completely free – I found that setting up a ‘Plan’ means that I don’t have to pick the workouts and I’m given the ones suitable for my level and my goal, which is losing weight.

There are for sure hundreds of other apps out there so if this app doesn’t work for you, there might be another that does!

Number 4 – fitbit flex (and fitbit app)

My mum offered to buy me a fitbit and at first I wasn’t sure I’d be interested – why would I care about tracking steps right? But I do now! It motivates you so much to go out and make sure you’re doing as many steps as you can and that’s not even the app, that’s just me being overly competitive with my past self.

I voluntarily walked to a Sainsburys supermarket out of the way from where I live just because it was a nearly-3-mile round walk and it was just for the steps (and to buy this amazing flavoured water that I can’t find anywhere else).

I also track what I’m eating, how much water I’m drinking, how my weight is changing and it apparently knows how much I’m sleeping too, all round useful device and app.

It’s also very useful that you can use the app without the fitbit – in terms of steps, most phones can count steps too so you don’t even need to buy a fitbit itself.

I hope this has been helpful in any way, shape or form! The last thing I will say is that working out, like revision or money management or anything else, is very personal and different things work for different people. Sometimes you have to experiment a lot before you find what works for you and that can be disheartening but it’s okay, because you will find what works for you.

If you’re struggling and feel like you need more guidance, I’d recommend going to your GP and finding a professional to talk to.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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resolutions for 2017

2017, lifestyle

Hello!

New Years is a funny time of year for me – I love the idea of leaving a year behind and starting afresh, very ‘new year new me’ kinda thing but also I get very scared by the passing of time and the thought of a year ending and I might not have made the most of it and it’s all very daunting.

So I thought I’d do a very generic New Years Resolutions post because whilst it is very generic, it really helps me focus and I love reading other peoples resolutions posts, both because it’s very inspiring and I’m kinda nosy!

In 2016, my resolutions were to:

  • Take more photos for my blog
  • Write more travel blog posts
  • Make changes to a healthier lifestyle
  • Write more creatively
  • And use the scrapbook I bought

Some of these were more successful than others – I have used my own pictures for 99% of my blog posts this year, even if they’ve just been iPhone pictures, it’s made me much more thoughtful about what I use pictures of and allotting time to take photos.

I’ve written more travel posts, I’ve definitely failed at getting healthier, I’ve barely written anything creatively and I don’t think I’ve touched my scrapbook except when I was moving into my new flat and that was just to put it in a box.

But I’ve found this year that I don’t want to make such generic resolutions – I’m going to make more of an action plan and then hopefully I’ll feel in a better place to actually do them!

I’ve broken my resolutions down into three categories; personal, creative and university goals.

My personal goals:

  • Being healthier (I’ll explain)
  • Exercise more
  • Focus on dental hygiene
  • Be a morning person
  • Be more careful with money

Right, I know everyone says they want to be healthier and I know it’s really stereotypical but I’m really going to kick it into gear this year because I hit a weight that made me actually cry – my friends and family have told me I should be happy with my weight and myself because I’m ‘fine’ but I’m not and if I’m not happy with myself then I need to change it.

I intend to do this by getting a couple of books on diet and being healthy to understand more about food groups and what your body needs to be healthier – I don’t know where to start and I want to educate myself because then I feel like I’ll know more about what I need and what to do in terms of what to eat and how to exercise.

And then there’s money – it’s a goal of mine to get out of my overdraft and really start saving some money for travelling next year. I’m thinking about it this way: if I want to travel I need to save for it, so every time I want to buy something I need to think about that purchase directly taking away from my travelling money for a trip to somewhere new. It’s worked so far!

My creative goals:

  • Keep learning about photography
  • Maintain my blog and YouTube channel
  • Make sure to keep trying out new content
  • Start writing again
  • Find new creative outlets

I consider myself a creative person – I’m so happy with how much I learnt about photography last year and I want to carry that into the new year by continuing to grow, continuing to maintain my blogging and start a schedule for YouTube and by continuing to find new ways to express myself. As long as I actually make sure I’m really regimented with my time management, I have time for all of this.

I know I’ve talked about writing a lot – I did manage to write about 30,000 words of my novel over the summer and I daren’t add up how many words I’ve written in blog posts (with posting five times a week over three blogs?!) but writing used to be something I did every night, sat on my laptop in the corner of my parents’ living room and I want to get back to that. Whether it’s fanfiction, random little creative pieces or finally finishing my book, I need to make writing my hobby again.

One thing I want to work on is being more adaptable – my upload schedule might change a bit as uni gets busier or quieter but I need to work on not beating myself up if I miss a day or if I don’t get that perfect picture or if something isn’t as successful as I planned.

My university goals:

  • Stay motivated
  • Stay organised
  • Keep trying new things
  • Keep putting yourself out there
  • Work experience

This first semester has been my best academic year so far – I went into this year knowing it counts and knowing I wanted to do well, the only way I can do that is if I put the effort in to get the grades I want and that went pretty well for me in this first semester so I’m intent to maintain that in the new year.

 

Work experience is something I think every university student is looking for – work experience, work experience, work experience. I always intend to get really good work experience – particularly following work experience at Channel 4 in my first year, so this year I’m going to apply for as much as I can and get some work experience I’m really proud of under my belt because work experience is the kind of thing that stays with you after university.

I know this post is really long but I feel so focused and I’m almost excited for next New Years (despite aforementioned fear of the passing of time) to be able to look back and see if this long ass blog post actually made a difference to whether I did these things!

Thank you for reading, please share your resolutions in the comments!

Sophie xx

 

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My Relationship with Sport

2016

Hello!

This post is inspired by Hannah Witton’s video titled the same as this blog post so if you haven’t seen that, I thoroughly recommend watching it!

Let’s start with a bit of context – as a kid, I was really into and actually quite good at sport. Apart from long distance running, to this day I am still horrifically bad at that. In primary school I played tag rugby, football, netball, athletics, hockey, alongside dancing and performing outside of school. I was a skinny twig, I am so jealous of my past self.

As I went into secondary school, I stuck with the netball and athletics and I started dancing at school as well as four or five times a week at the new dance school I’d moved to. Until I was about 14 and I chose dance over other sports teams and that’s when I started getting fat. Doing only one type of physical exercise and mental health/comfort eating coming into play, often provoked by bad friendships and having access to the snack cupboard whenever I wanted it really didn’t help. I put on so much weight.

I always wish I was either someone who was naturally skinny without trying, like so many friends I know now, or that I’d kept up the sport and it was now something I didn’t have such a negative build on in my mind.

So what’s happening now? I went back to uni today and the dance season is starting up again so I’m going to taster sessions to learn the try out routine for try outs next weekend, I’m trying to get back into going to the gym and up my fitness levels, but I always say I’m trying to get back into it so I’m not saying I’ve succeeded yet… I’m still trying.

I’m currently the heaviest I’ve ever been which is in some ways a downward spiral to just get heavier because comfort eating but I’m working on it – I think I’ll do a post about my weight soon because it might help me, as well as anyone else who might read it.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Working out at a festival! | Update Monday

2016

Hello!

I’m making this Update Monday series a thing, not only to ‘document my progress’ in the most pretentious way possible but also to motivate me to actually have something to write about each week!

Hopefully it’ll get more productive as each week goes on. I’ll be honest, this week has been more productive than last week’s post was, but the progress is marginal I’m ashamed to admit.

In terms of writing – I actually started! I sat down and wrote about 1700 words and got to a point in chapter 1 where I felt happy with the introduction and I was ready to start expanding on the introduction of each character.

When I went to work at NASS last Thursday, I took stuff with me with intent to write more of the book in my down time at the end of each working day but to be honest? I really didn’t have any – a festival doesn’t ‘finish’ until the early hours of the morning and the crew and I were working or sleeping for most of the time we were there.

I’m in a position where I can definitely finish chapter 1 this week and what I did do when I wasn’t writing is that I finished my writing of the plan having finished rereading the book and I really loved the ending. Yes, I said it – I love the ending of my own book. Obviously not that I was surprised by the ending, I’m just surprised at how well 16-year-old Sophie managed to write it. But in the absence of writing, at least I finished planning!

I’m currently on 2,382 words, which actually sounds okay… until I reveal that I should be hitting 17,743 words today. But! (Another ‘but’ to try and redeem myself) I’ve not got another shift at work until a week on Thursday so once I’ve finished the writing for NASS that I have to send off this week, my whole days are going to be filling with a lot of writing and I’ve got a lot planned to try and be as creative as I can!

I really am falling in love with my characters again. One of the main reasons for wanting to redraft this book is that even after almost four years, it’s still my proudest achievement and the thought of seeing it published and cherished makes me so, so excited.

And think of the fanfiction it would be so wonderful.

In terms of working out, I feel like the ‘update’ on that is almost as disappoint as the ‘update’ on my not-starting-writing last week – I worked out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of last week but I got on a coach to go get work experience at music fesitival NASS on Thursday and left behind all and every opportunity to work out.

Work experience was hard – it was long busy days and late nights and I was hoping to have room in my tent to do some stretches but it turns out the double air bed I bought only just fit in the tent. I barely had enough room for my bags let alone somewhere to do sit ups!

But (again) I was doing exercise in terms of carrying equipment and walking everywhere – so I’m just going to continue with Day 6 tomorrow. Day 6 consists of 35 sit ups, 15 crunches, 15 leg raises and a 25 second plank, an attempt at the splits and a hamstring stretch that I’ve nicknamed ‘the cuddly snuggle’.

(Essentially you lie on your bag and hug your straight legs to your chest)

I’m not noticing any progress as of yet – I feel more flexible but in terms of abs I’m feeling bigger than ever actually. I’ve noticeably gained weight in my arms, I feel a lot bigger in my tummy area and my legs feel flabby too. I’m trying to eat healthy and I feel like I’m trying to do as much exercise as possible so I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m just going to carry on and hope to see progress later!

I’m going to jump head first back into my workout and I’m making myself go back to the gym this week too – this workout stuff is not going to get the better of me and the money I spend on gym membership is not going to go to waste!

This part of the post has just made me feel really fat and bad for myself. Well that didn’t motivate me at all. Time to catch up on sleep, home work out tomorrow and first gym session in a while on Wednesday – trying to stay optimistic!

Thank you for reading – I hope you like Update Mondays!

Sophie xx

 

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