LEAN IN 15 (YEARS!)

Happy 2017 lovely readers – I hope you’ve had a fantastic Christmas and New Year filled with family, fun, food and festivities!!

NOW DROP AND GIVE ME 20!

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Because I saw you sneak that third slice of pudding with custard AND double cream and now you must be punished OK? At least that’s how I used to see New Years Day. One seriously big dose of guilt and self-loathing after weeks of eating and drinking with abandon, sometimes (but not always) served with a side of optimistic enthusiasm for the new me. The ‘definitely being good from today’ mentality that year after year guaranteed the same outcome – TOTAL FAILURE! Yup, whatever half-cocked new foodie hogwash was topping the Amazon book charts, it was in my basket quicker than you could say alkaline acai bowl. Sometimes, if I was feeling really enthusiastic I’d even treat myself to the celebrity endorsed fitness DVD de rigeur to ensure optimum success. Six-pack sorted.

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Sound familiar? I swear I started every year of most of my adult life hopeful that this time it would be different because I really was going to change everything. I’d prep and blend (and spend!) my way to a healthy glow. I’d (mindfully) Pilates and plank the sh*t out of life for a body taut enough to make Davina weep. Ultimately, it was my ‘go at it guns blazing’ attitude that was my downfall every single time. Once the initial enthusiasm wore off and the reality of everyday life crept in I was back to square one, only worse, because this time I’d failed AGAIN.

Thankfully I’m a pretty fast learner and after ooh, say 15 years of repeating the same sodding routine with the same sodding outcome, I finally cottoned on that this wasn’t quite working for me. I wasn’t ever going to want to stop eating Kit-Kats with my cuppa and no amount of (very expensive, home made) raw energy ‘bliss balls’ were ever going to change that. I did the one single most important thing I’ve ever done for myself and gave myself permission to just stop. Stop constantly berating myself for what I did, what I didn’t do, how I looked, lived, ate, thought…all of it. I had equated happiness with something that realistically I was never going to achieve and that needed to change. At first the thought of not following the rules terrified me. I was an intelligent adult and mother of two and yet the thought of being left to my own devices when choosing what to eat made me feel sick. Yes, I’m fully aware how ridiculous and sad that sounds.

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Today I’m 100% happier when it comes to all that stuff. It takes time to change a habit of a lifetime and I’ll admit that sometimes I’ll find myself sneaking a peek at a latest food craze or fitness plan but these days I do it with a much healthier, sensible attitude. I can look at the pretty pictures, appreciate how tasty and nourishing a chickpea and sweet potato curry is but most importantly I can tuck into a Sunday roast with all the trimmings and savour every mouthful without feeling remotely guilty about it – it’s just food!  I no longer feel the need to restrict food groups or calories. I take responsibility for what I put in my body and am fully aware of the consequences of a healthy versus unhealthy diet. Some days I have the sweet potato, some days the roast dinner- it’s called balance.

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m not a fan of New Year Resolutions but actually the opposite is true- I love New Year! I think it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past and make exciting plans for the future. To draw a line under the not-so-good and start afresh. I even love a Davina DVD now and again and after hearing her speak at Blogfest this year I really believe that she works hard to juggle work, family life and exercise just like everyone else. She was warm, open, funny and had a vulnerability that you don’t usually see in the public eye.

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For some people the man of the moment is Joe Wicks. In fact this New Year’s Day his ‘Lean In 15’ food and fitness books claimed ALL THREE top spots on Amazon bestsellers. If that plan works with your lifestyle and you enjoy it then that’s perfect, I’ve seen the ‘Before & Afters’ and they’re pretty amazing. Personally, well I once tried his beginners 15min HIIT workout and honestly thought I was going to throw up for the next three hours. Sorry Joe, it’s just not gonna work out between me and you.

This year I will be making resolutions, setting goals and drawing up master plans in my shiny new notebook,  it’s just that none of them will be diet related. Been there, done that. In my 20s I was almost 3 stone heavier than I am now and miserable. I was stuck in the horrible cycle of diet, fail at diet, feel terrible, binge, repeat and 15 years later I still hate to think about how I felt back then. Comfort came in the form of huge bowls of pasta, tubs of pick n mix and (prescribed) happy pills. Not good.

I gradually lost a few pounds here and there and years later my wedding provided the incentive I needed to ‘stick at it’ but even then, a year of limiting calories and cutting out sugar was zero fun and I spent most of it like a banshee with PMT. Until last year I never really managed to have a healthy relationship with food or my body and in the end I realised that the whole time the problem was ‘up here’ *points to head*.

Life whizzes past at 100mph and I refuse to spend another second worrying about my squidgy bits when I am lucky enough to have a beautiful, healthy family to spend it with. I don’t love the way I look, I’d change a lot of things given the option but then who wouldn’t? I just don’t allow it to get me down anymore.

I walk, a lot. It never fails to make me feel happier and the exercise is an added bonus. Sometimes I’ll stick on a Pilates DVD if I feel like it, never under duress. I think of it as an investment in my health rather than a form of punishment! This Christmas I’ve eaten every kind of pudding and pie I fancied and enjoyed every single bite. Where in previous years I would have mindlessly ‘stuffed it all in’ before the big new year diet, that never even crossed my mind. Ironically I probably ate way less as a result. I don’t weigh myself nearly as much as I used to but out of interest I hopped on the scale this morning and weigh exactly the same as I did last month. No guilt, no dramas, no emergency diet required.

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This year’s Christmas cake- still a tiny bit left for me to enjoy with my cuppa for breakfast 🙂

I really hope that if you’re thinking about going hell for leather with the whole ‘New year- New Me’ thing you’ll cut yourself some slack and take a realistic, long-term approach, not forgetting to start ‘up there’ first. It took me 15 years, not 15mins but I got there in the end.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, fun-filled 2017!

 

 

 

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66 Comments

  1. Love this! It’s so true that we pile on so much pressure in the new year to be our “perfect” self and how many will make weight part of their resolutions. I’m with you it’s taken a long time and a lot of dark moments to realise that healthy eating which is balanced and non restrictive is the way to go. I’ve learnt to love exercise but only do it if I want to, life is too short to HAVE to do anything or punishment for eating that piece of cake!

  2. I love this so much! I know that I have overindulged over the festivities and I am now more than ready to get my backside moving and to put some good nutrition back into my body. I’m not for one second planning to jump onto the next fanatical regime though as I just know that it can’t be maintained. For one I still have a house full of chocolate, and on a cold and bleak January Saturday night I might just fancy a bit, and if I do, well that’s ok! I bloody love your whole approach to well being and positive body image and I think that we could all use a pinch of your ethos in our Januaries. Very well said xx

    1. Thank you Dawn! If you can’t indulge at Christmas then when can you eh?? Glad to hear you’re not planning to start some torturous regime, zero fun right? I totally agree, I spend Jan nibbling my way through all the little leftover treats too. Thanks for your lovely comment- happy new year! Xx

      1. Popping back for a second visit and a second standing ovation for this post Charlie! I’ve been quoting parts of your writing to myself all day today! Thanks so much for linking with #DreamTeam xx

  3. Aw, Charlie, this is such an important post and thanks for having the courage to be so open about the challenges you faced over the years. I can relate. I’ve just finished Davina’s book and its full of such sensible, brilliant tips on life..Not just diet and food. If you haven’t read it, you should. It will give you a whole nother level of admiration for her. Here’s to a sensible approach! (She says, sitting in her gym kit anticipating her first visit to the gym in FOREVER!) #DreamTeam

    1. Thank you! I think I’ll get her book then if you recommend it. I’m not crazy about her Sugar-Free, Smart Carbs or whatever as it all triggers that unhealthy mindset in me but I suppose Mamma’s gotta pay the bills so we’ll let those slide 🙂
      Hope you’re feeling pumped after your trip to the gym!! x

  4. “Personally, well I once tried his beginners 15min HIIT workout and honestly thought I was going to throw up for the next three hours.” THIS! Oh my word I’ve been there! But seriously I love this post and it’s honesty – I think with maturity (ahem!!) you start to set more realistic goals – I’m glossing over the fact that a session with the personal trainer is booked for 2 this afternoon and I’m already wondering if I should cancel!! I wish I’d seen Davina at Blogfest – everyone seems to sing her praises and I think she has got a balance that we could all learn something from – that and some well earned fame (that would be nice!!). Have a fab year lovely #DreamTeam

    1. Well I’m relieved to hear it’s not just me who can’t hack HIIT:) I bet a personal trainer is a fab way to go as you’re definitely less likely to find other ‘very important’ things to do instead!! 🙂
      Have a great session, you’ll feel amazing afterwards – happy new year to you too xx

  5. Great post, and so true. I’ve watched my mum struggle with diet after diet over the years and have a done a few myself too but decided a while back that life is too short and you only end up putting even more back on again afterwards. Balance is definitely the key. I’ve added exercise onto my goal list month as I do every month but more as a way to stay relatively fit and healthy rather than to lose weight.
    #DreamTeam

  6. I love this post. I have been a yo yo dieter for years, and it is only in the last few months that I have been comfortable and happy in my own skin. I do watch the carbs and exercise at home (always with a Davina DVD!), but I am not obsessed over my weight anymore. Life really is too short to worry about food, and like you said, I’ve got a beautiful family who will love me whatever I look like! #DreamTeam

    1. Thanks Kerry, SO happy to hear you’re feeling more confident and less stressed about the whole thing- not always easy but there are definitely far more important things to focus on right?! x

  7. This is such a good attitude to have your completely right that it’s not easy and we have accept us for how wonderful we really are. Keep it up X # bloggerclubuk

  8. I am with you all the way, just thinking of dieting or a dry January has me reaching for the chocolates. If I ignore it all my body just sorts itself out in time. Running and walking are my thinng which as you say has the added benefit of helping the healthy cause. Happy New Year #BloggerClubUK

  9. Love your message here! It is so true! It’s funny, I’ve been stressed due to jet lag and getting back into our “norm” but couldn’t do the extra walking/exercising that I planned in my head to make this year better!. Thanks for the reminder that it’s perfectly ok! Also, I just finished putting the roast on in my crockpot so I will enjoy it tonight with no guilt. (but in moderation =) #BloggerClubUk

  10. As I approach 35 it is soooooo much harder to stay trim. My habits are the same as they were even a few years ago but the results are clearly not.

    What the hell back fat!

    #bloggerclubuk

  11. A lovely refreshing read! Too many times I’ve heard people say that they’re going to punish their bodies with exercise in order to work off all those Christmas gains but it’s the wrong mentally. Eat what you enjoy and associate happy thoughts with food and try to make little healthy adjustments wherever you can ie. cutting out that sugar in your tea or switching from white bread to brown. That’s the true meaning of a healthy, balanced diet.

    Well done for eating xmas dinner and not feeling bad for it! I’m with you all the way on that. 🙂 #DreamTeam

  12. I am still 100% stuck in the routine of buying into the latest fads. I literally just bought a book on how to cut sugar out of my diet and am sitting here trying to plan when I will get my arse off the sofa for a workout. One day I might achieve a body I’m happy with. Either that or I’ll just accept the one I’ve got. Either way, good for you! #bloggerclubuk

  13. Happy New Year and good for you on having such a great perspective! I personally don’t mind HIIT but I do need to have someone there yelling at me to try harder and keep going otherwise I collapse in a heap on the floor! #bloggerclubuk

  14. Great post and so pleased you have finally reached a happy place with your food and exercise. There is so much pressure (TOO MUCH!) on women to look a certain way and only eat certain foods. But you can’t force yourself to be what you are not. Something has to be natural addition or change to your life else you are doomed to fail. I’m not a big New Year person but due to all the family visits etc, it’s easy to fall off the exercise band wagon over the festive period. So I do use NY as an opportunity to get back into a routine.

    Glad you enjoyed all your cake. You’re so right that when you stop counting, you usually eat less!

    #DreamTeam

  15. What s great philosophy to have on! We waste too much time (and money) trying to change ourselfs and for who’s benefit?
    We will only truly be happy once we accept ourselves for who we are!
    I also love that you eat cake for breakfast!
    #BloggerClubUK

  16. I love this! It’s so hard to break out of the binge-diet cycle, but it’s so much healthier to try and allow yourself treats with a general healthy diet. At university, my best friend was sectioned for her eating disorder so it is something that I am keenly aware of, and am trying to pass on a healthy relationship with food to my girls. Happy New Year! #TheListLinky

    1. Thanks Lucy. That’s awful, poor girl 🙁 Yes I’m so aware that I’m setting an example for my kids too in the hope that they will grow up to have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. Happy new year to you too! x

  17. This is a great post. I can totally see where you’re coming from. However, I have just bought that lean in 15 book in the sale! But I personally like high-intensity exercise and the food recipes are quick and easy so that works with having a family. I did slimming world post baby, and that actually helped me the most with drilling into me some good habits in terms of what I eat. I do overindulge at Christmas/holiday and easily put weight on that way, but a week into the new year I’ve lost most of that weight already just by returning to my normal food. It’s a lesson for me every year – eat and drink like a pig and you will put on weight, eat and drink normally and you’ll stay relatively slim and healthy! Shocker! Who would have thought that?! #BloggerClubUK

    1. Good luck with the health kick, his recipes are right up my street – just the rest of the family that need convincing sadly 😄 Totally agree that we just need to be realistic with ourselves and our expectations. Happy healthy new year to you! Xx

  18. Great post.I love food deeply but now have the metabolic rate of a very slow snail.I refuse to give up the Kit Kats too so am going to get my ass walking.Such a shame!!!!#BloggerClubUK

  19. As I get older I definitely feel that I need to accept my body more. I am the same, I choose to try and be healthy all year round and exercise so that I can drink wine and eat the foods I like. That’s it. I figure if I can do it most of the time and feel okay then that’s good enough! I agree it is very easy to get caught up in fads etc. Power to the people it kick starts. Enjoy your 2017!

  20. I agree – it’s a lot of pressure as soon as January 1st arrives. We have to have goals & plans ready for action. It makes people feel bad about themselves & inadequate. I think the trick is finding what works for you. And it doesn’t have to be started in January I say! Thanks so much for joining us at #BloggerClubUK

  21. Love your philosophy. I’m aiming to get a bit fitter this year, just to feel healthier and more like myself after having my baby, but definitely not at the expense of cake, wine and general fun! #bigpinklink

  22. Love, Love, Love! I hate this time of year for that one reason! Everyone wants to diet diet diet… Adore your view on this! Exercise and eating should be fun, enjoyable and realistic!! Anyways… Luckily my husband loves my squidgy bits … 🙂 🙂 #bigpinklink

  23. Great post. Totally agree with taking your time to make a change, especially when it comes to exercise and nutrition.

    Instead of following diets I encourage the people that I coach to form new daily habits. Small, consistent goals that will contribute to the “bigger picture”.

    We shouldn’t feel guilty about letting the eating habits slip once in a while and should embrace the body we have right now!

  24. haha I always start the year like this too and fail miserably. However, I AM going to give it a go only because I had a baby 8 months ago and I’m going back to work in 3 month’s time. There’s no way I’m going to go out and buy new frumpy dresses. I’ve got 8kg to lose and running around after two kids is just not cutting it. I love my cake with a cuppa too, it’s going to be hard. But I prefer to feel a bit fitter and healthier. I’m on the daily cheese sandwich diet. It’s got to go! #bigpinklink

  25. To avoid this new year new me thing I actually started a new plan in November that carried on through. I cut myself a little slack but have still lost 6 inches all over since 24th November and that includes indulging in xmas bits so I’m happy!
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

  26. Raw energy ‘bliss balls’….what??! I have learnt over years of binge diets and berating that its much better to not start fad things and the time I take thinking I should diet or exercise should be told telling myself I look great. It would be much more helpful, I love food and treats and wine, there is no point tying to follow a man in leotards recipe guide and gym workout because I have a very busy life but as you say, walking, the occasional bit of yoga, an avocado or two and being kind to yourself work pretty darn well 🙂 #ablogginggoodtime x

  27. Oooh, I do love this a lot!!!!! But, as you know, I’m loving it while simulataneously tucking into my gluten free, wheat free, vegan, paleo dinner…!! I am having a drastic life overhaul, but because I’ve neglected myself for too long, and put the children and everyone else first!! So I’m doing what you’re doing,, but in reverse-I’ve never done new year new me, because I’ve always thought it tosh too!! But my husband has had high blood pressure, been feeling grotty, and I’m trying to get a hold on my PCOS, so radical overhaul for us it is!! But, like you, I’m not going to say no to everything, because I know denial will make me angry! I’m going out for dinner on Saturday night, but fully intend to eat what I want! I love all your sentiments-life is way too short to beat yourself up over clean living and exercise!!
    #bigpinklink

    1. Oh I totally understand don’t worry, it’s brilliant you’re putting yourself first and starting to make lifestyle/diet changes for the sake of your health! Best of luck with it all, look forward to following your progress through the new blog series. x

  28. I love how this started off with your usual brand of incredible humour (the fast learner bit nearly made me choke, you’re hilarious) and then progressed into your other fabulous trademark of exceptional honesty. It’s amazing what we do to ourselves; the cycle of self-sabotage and self-loathing. I must admit I’ve only ever tried dieting once in my life but I don’t over eat at Christmas as I in fact almost go the other way as I find the idea of stuffing myself just because it’s Christmas really offputting if you get me? I’ve never owned bathroom scales and I never start the New Year with any food objectives other than getting into smoothies…which I then don’t ever make as I don’t enjoy many combinations. And I’m meant to finally get a personal trainer but am dreading doing it. In conclusion life is too short to miss out on Sunday roasts because they are the BEST thing ever invented! But it’s also too short to be lazy and not look after ourselves. So moderation as always. Happy New Year chick. #bloggerclubuk and #bigpinklink

    1. Thank you, you are so very kind about my wafflings I’m glad you enjoyed it! Oh to have never dieted or owned a set of scales- I envy you, it’s such a slippery slope!! Totally agree, you get out what you put in etc etc. Now go book that PT, I can already see the new Get Fit with Prabs series! 🙂 Happy New Year xx

  29. Love this post! Thank you for writing this as I have been feeling this ever since the new year…at work I am surrounded by people eating salads and I want to scream as I just can’t find the motivation. Your balanced approach to eating healthy is so brilliant 🙂 Happy New Year xx #bigpinklink

    1. Thanks Bridie – am so glad you are feeling a bit better about it now. Can be hard to carry on as ‘normal’ when sitting next to Salad Girl but then I know I’ve been that Salad Girl many times and now have the experience to know what does and doesn’t work for me. x

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