Progress and confidence

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I feel a bit like I wrote my last post and it got a bit deep so I then dropped the mic and ran away. But hello! I am here.

 

And holy cow, it’s basically the end of February.  I knew 2015 would go by fast but it is disappearing in the blink of an eye. Tomorrow is 4 weeks until we fly to New Zealand and I suddenly feel the time crunch of it all – so much to do before the big day, but I know we’ll get there.

 

 

I’ve said it before, but I’ve had a bit of wedding dress body stress, and that has changed quite a lot since I last wrote about it.  My first dress fitting went really well, and the seamstress was fantastic and helpful and so, so cheap!  I almost fell off my bed when she told me how cheap it was going to be, and she had some excellent suggestions for amendments if I didn’t meet my fitness goals by the final fitting. I’ve got 11 days until the next fitting, but I’m feeling pretty happy with where I’m at so far. I’m still about 15-20lbs over where I (in a perfect world) thought I’d be on my wedding day, and about 25lbs over where I’d ideally like to be (which is actually lighter than I’ve been in geez, probably 15 years, so I’m just being pretty ambitious here), but since September I’ve lost nearly a stone (14lbs/6.5kg) and this year alone I’ve lost 8lbs, so I’m pretty stoked with that.

 

 

I know we’re all about not focusing on weight loss these days as a society, and accepting ourselves as we are, and I applaud that. But this to me was never about people thinking I was hot, or having a flat stomach, or buying into anything I’ve been told. It’s always been about my confidence level, and fitting into my clothes, and feeling healthy and strong.

 

 

The key to it for me has been diet (though yoga has been wonderfully beneficial as well) – once I started eating right, the cravings for stuff stopped, the self-control grew (like, I can have chocolate next to me and not eat the entire block, which a while ago was tough work) and I’ve become pretty obsessed with Nakd bars and stuff.  A huge help I’ve found has been not eating much at night/stopping eating before about 7pm – even when I’ve had an unhealthy day (cause, not gonna lie, there has been some fast food), I’ve managed to keep the weight loss going.

I also do a bit of 6:1/the occasional 5:2 and find that helpful too.  Not that common, though.  And more work to do!

 

 

Ultimately, it has been a huge boost to my confidence and to my happiness.  I still weigh so much more than I did 5 years ago, but my stomach is so much smaller, my thighs are awesome and I just feel good about my body for the first time in a long time.  Also, the yoga has contributed hugely to my mental health – my stress and anger levels have been pretty high over the last year, but they’re getting better.

 

 

I hope you’re all well and good!  I have some more posts planned for the next wee bit, so I’ll be back soon – especially to share some amazing shots I got while travelling last week.  And I’ve got my Edinburgh hen this weekend – super excited!

 

 

…xxx

swhite

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On girliness and wedding dresses

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Wedding shop in Glasgow

 

It’s kinda hard to express what’s been going on in my head lately.  And I’ve kept quiet here while I’ve tried to work it out and I think keeping it in is a bad idea and I have no idea why I have.

We live in a world of expectations and fairytale movies and I feel like I’m caught up in this wedding industry lately, and it’s hard and weird.

I promised myself and worked really hard on early planning to make sure that I don’t let this wedding get the best of me. I’ve seen brides turn into maniacs; women who are intelligent and mature turn into bridezillas and control freaks.

 

Husband to be

 

Folks ask why I’ve done certain things so early and it’s really just a simple thing – space it out and it won’t freak you out.  There is still a bit of a freak-out going on in my head sometimes, but that’s mainly because I’m so, so far away from everything related to my wedding.  I chose to get married in NZ, because that’s always where I wanted to, but it turns out we have so many friends here that we know won’t make it, and that’s kinda bittersweet.  And all communication with suppliers is over email or through my mother, and that’s never ideal – despite hating the phone, we still don’t always communicate that well with emails. Tone, and all that.

The main thing in my head at the moment, which is making me super sad, is the wedding dress shopping. I started it when my friend Deb was visiting a few weeks back, because I thought after being friends for so long, it’d be a nice way for her to be involved, and it was a ridiculously hot day, so I was sweaty (horrible getting dresses on and off) and didn’t look my best and I felt self-conscious being in my underwear around a stranger, and though I tried on a dress I really liked, I felt less than bridal, and quite homesick.

 

Scotland is beautiful lately

 

I watch a lot of Say Yes to the Dress (I started for ideas, now I just do it to torture myself), and I know that I have always pictured that moment when you get your wedding dress and it’s perfect for you and you have that special feeling of knowing it’s yours and what you’ll look like on your wedding day. I feel like I’m supposed to do this with my bridesmaids and my mother and I’ve been a bit deprived of that.  I never like to dwell on or pity myself for things that I have chosen, and I know I’ve chosen to be here. But it still hurts a bit.

I know we discussed doing it when I was in New Zealand, but I felt so very unattractive and overweight at the time, and it just didn’t really come up. I have put off even looking (other than occasionally online) because I don’t want to be the one who can’t fit a wedding dress sample size, and when I went a few weeks ago, I only really fit one of the dresses. It was a bit sucky and felt a bit deflating and I just feel like I’m missing out.

 

Part of our wedding venue

 

And it’s silly because I know I’ll get that moment when I’m getting ready in the morning of my wedding and my mother and sister and everyone sees me in my dress all ready to go and we get to share that together.  And it’s so very cliche and girly to want to stand on a podium in a bridal shop while everyone oohs and ahhs and tells you it’s “the dress” but.. I want it. I really want to feel special in this and enjoy this.

I’m losing weight and working on that and also working on telling myself that it’s not 100% necessary for me to be the size I want to be before I try things on. If I lose the weight I want and feel body-confident for my wedding, then that’s awesome, but I don’t need to wait to find a dress until I do. I’ve been telling myself that I have to wait for too long and I need to stop getting myself down and just get on with it. Adjustments can be made and dresses can be changed and geez, I’m not enormous. I’m just bigger than I want to be and bigger than I’ve been most of my life and I go into bridal shops and want to yell at everyone I’m not usually this big I assure you like I’m hiding inside a big person’s body or something. And sometimes it feels that way.

 

Me in June

 

So I have appointments again in a few weeks and we’re going to go for a coffee in-between them and have lunch afterwards and a drink or two and really try to enjoy it. I’ve reached out to girlfriends here and asked them to be my replacement family for some upcoming shopping trips, and hopefully some will join us then, but if not, it’ll be a nice morning out with Helen.

I think I’ll feel so much more excited about the wedding once I find my dress, and I think I need to just let go a bit and trust everyone around me that the day will work out how I’ve envisioned it.  These 8 months are going to fly by.

 

…xxx

swhite

On bodies.

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Well hello.  Prepare yourself for a lot of motivational stuff. Because I’m going to come back and look at this post whenever I need to.

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I need to admit something.

I hate my body.

Whomp, there it is.

tumblr_mpawl8s8tr1s6mp4qo1_500I’m not going to put any pictures up on this post to illustrate what exactly I don’t like, but. I hate it. I’ve never hated it so much before.

 

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I saw a photo of myself last week where I genuinely thought to myself – That’s the “before” shot on my “weight loss triumph” tumblr post.  I was genuinely dismayed.  I’ve been lying to myself for quite a long time that it wasn’t that bad.  It’s kinda bad.

I kinda like… my shoulders and arms. And my face.  And my boobs are okay.  Then from the knees down – not bad. Everything else? meh.

 

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I try to tell myself that my body is strong, functioning, worthwhile and has so much use, but I struggle most days to see it. I look for the most comfortable dress to put over leggings and hide everything I can.  And I’ve spent several months focusing on the positives like my hair and getting really comfortable with my own face in the mirror (hello, pretty lady!), which I thought would help with body positivity, but stress has lead to me just ignoring any consequences and eating, well, anything in sight.

 

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I’m not writing this post to receive a bunch of comments telling me my body is fine.  I appreciate the sentiment and the love behind it, but it’s not helpful, so please don’t.  I don’t need to hear that I’m fine the way I am or that I am not “fat” or big enough to worry.  Please don’t negate my feelings.  I also don’t need advice on how you think I should fix it: I have a lot of such knowledge already.  I collect such knowledge (nerd).  I am writing this to tell you my true and angsty feelings, here.  I am so hard on myself.  I make myself feel like too much of a failure.

We’re all too hard on ourselves.

 

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I want to be thin and fit again. Feel lean and strong.  I want to feel confident when I get dressed every day.  We all hear so much day-to-day about how the media/patriarchy/people around us have brainwashed us into believing skinny is good, and I understand why I feel this pressure to be smaller and how I got this idea into my brain, but that doesn’t help me suddenly like what I look like.  And it’s not like the vanity aspect is the whole issue – I am not particularly healthy.  And I no longer fit 80% of my wardrobe (with any comfort), which kinda scares me.

I have never been this big.  And it’s not overall curviness, it’s genuine… pudge due to my terrible diet, mostly around my stomach.  I live in fear of someone asking me when I’m “due”.  I cannot sit down in jeans without throwing something across my stomach or hoping my baggy top (also rather unflattering) will hide it.  I tilt my head like a crazy person to try and be okay with photos of me, and embarrassingly, have started to hide from photos.  All (full-length) photos of me lately have made me want to cry a little.

dont-youever-giveupIt’s really easy to tell everyone how to lose weight.  Calories out vs. calories in, right?  I know sticking to a set routine is what works for me and that at 5’2″, I hold onto weight pretty well and show every single new kilogram.  I know what my weaknesses and failings are.  And I know that outside factors have played a huge part in all of this – working 2 jobs for 3 months, getting the album finished, buying a house… these are all to blame.  They are wonderful experiences (except maybe the 2 jobs thing), but they have lead to a lot of binge-eating (often without even realising until much later).

 

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But.  The point of this post is that while I feel this way, I want to be better. I will be better.  This is only temporary.  And I know I need to be kinder to myself – we all slip and fail sometimes.  Many of us have woken from a stress-addled haze 6 months later to realise a change needs to be made, and most of us have looked in the mirror at some point and hated ourselves.  It just can’t be every day anymore.

 

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And my internal monologue will definitely need to change.  Hating a problem doesn’t fix it, it only makes me miserable. Onwards and upwards.

 

So, I pledge to you:

– I will be kind to myself and tell myself I can achieve what I want to achieve

– I will take genuine steps to manage my stress better and not let life overwhelm me

– I will take small steps back to eating the healthy diet I used to eat

– I will start (slowly) re-establishing my fitness routine

– I will not weigh myself, but judge how I feel in my clothes

– I will not strive to achieve a goal by a set time (though my 30th birthday would be nice!), but aim to make the daily changes that lead me to my goals and change my lifestyle

– I will not lament how slow things change – you cannot put anything off as it “will take so long” as that time will pass by anyway

– I will celebrate my achievements, no matter how small

– I will love my body again.

 

 

…xxx

siggrey

 

 

 

PS:  If you like motivational crap (I post it mostly for me), my tumblr is http://omgeverything.tumblr.com.

Selfish.

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I believe it’s always important to occasionally be a little selfish. Treat yo’self, and all that.

 

 

But that has taken on a whole new meaning lately.

Its old meaning, for me, was about taking time out to relax. To read, to have long baths, to watch a lot of the bad TV that I love.  Being selfish meant shopping needlessly, never getting out of bed on a Saturday, having my favourite cookies and icecream and chocolates.

These days, I am starting to feel differently about selfishness and what’s best for me.  I’ve started to have a turn-around in my attitude and my approach to my day and my whole lifestyle, and the change in my mood has been dramatic and surprising.

I have OCD tendencies, and am well aware of them.  It can frustrate Dave at times, as he thinks I’m deliberately not paying attention to him or not listening when I need to catch up with various social media or check my internet banking to make sure I’m on track.  I am obsessive and particular and committed to “keeping up” with life and having control over everything, and this isn’t always helpful.  The feeling of satisfaction and calm I get from knowing that I am up to speed is so great that I sometimes neglect other things, and I am working on that.

 

 

I have never been able to extend this feeling to keeping up with housework, however.  When I do clean, and keep up the house, I feel an amazing sense of accomplishment, so why don’t I keep doing it?  Why do I slip into complacency to the degree that suddenly I’ll look around and realise what a mess I’m in? It’s almost like it sneaks up on me and BAM! mess. And surely it has been slowly developing, rather than just staying out of sight until I notice it.

I think, at the ripe age of almost-29, I should really have better habits, and it’s something I’ve wanted to improve about myself for a while, but have failed miserably time after time.  There’s always been a voice in the back of my mind telling me how tidy and on top of housework I’ll be when I’m a parent and at home during the day, but pffft. Maybe?  I shouldn’t wait until then.

Since Dave began shift working, I’ve had various periods of time on my own in the flat, sometimes for nights on end, sometimes just during the day on weekends. When it comes to the weeks that I have nights to myself, I’ve been in a great rhythm, especially this week.  I’m starting to learn, truly, really, simply:

Being selfish for me now has to mean being organised and sticking to a routine.

 

 

I have started a new gym regime, and having this routine and order in one area of my life in that respect is starting to bleed into other areas.  This week my days have been:

Mornings: Get up for work, weigh in/measure, assemble food/smoothie/gym bag to take to the office, get ready, leave.

Lunch time: Walk to Tesco and back with colleague, even if I don’t need to buy anything, or walk along the canal and back, then come back and eat lunch.

Evenings: Finish work, drive straight to gym, work out (hard!) alone or take a class, come home, run dishwasher, pick up clothes, cook myself something to eat, have a bath, re-pack gym bag for next day, make smoothie for next day, pick out work clothes for next day, watch one or two TV eps in bed, sleep.

Simple tasks. Simple changes.  I’ve slept like a log this week, I’ve had more energy during the day, I’ve felt happier and less burdened by life.  It has sucked not seeing Dave as often as other weeks, but I think doing this on my own has been a good step.  I’ve felt happier lately anyway, but this has been the icing on the cake, in a way.

 

 

People try and tell you this. Your parents try and try to hammer it into you.  It’s ridiculously simple:  life can’t just be one big fun-times binge.  It isn’t all about just getting what you want and not putting in the work.  Get organised.  Don’t diet/workout in spurts but make a lifestyle change*.  Clean up your damn house.

And I’ve always agreed!  Wholeheartedly.  These are not new concepts to me, or anyone.  I’ve always known that order and structure is important to my happiness. But I don’t think I’ve ever really understood it until now.  Too many other things about my life weren’t working and I didn’t have the clarity.

 

 

So. I have decided!  To be selfish.  I shall still lie in bed all day, eat cookies and icecream and chocolate, watch a lot of bad TV, shop needlessly.  I shall still treat myself!

But I need let being selfish include:  making my body better.  Settling my mind with order and structure and routine.  Keeping up with the simple adult joys that make my house clean and shiny and make things easier to find.   And it has been amazing not struggling with what to wear in the morning, not having to skip breakfast because it’s too annoying to make something,  and always having the right gym gear together.

Selfishness?  Just got more awesome.

 

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Coming soon:  Changes at work, being a “shift widow”, trying to cleanse my closet, and a new Currently post.

 
 
 
…xxx
siggrey
 
* Diet/FuelBand acquisition has been a big help in this so far, too!

Bufty*

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Oh gosh.  How many times have I written a “I’m going to get fit!” post on this blog?

 

 

Don’t worry, I find myself intolerable sometimes, too.

I really hate my belly and such, and I generally only like my face, arms, calves… and that’s about it.  Some of this is bound to be tied up in self esteem rather than a general overall fattiness, but I just feel… big.

So I’m running and cycling** and generally lifting weights and such.  I haven’t really eaten carbs in quite a while, but have allowed myself to slip a little on dairy and sweet things, etc, so I need to be back to behaving myself again.  I’m trying to make breakfast smoothies and drink water and not focus too much on my weight but rather my measurements, etc.  So we’ll just have to wait and see.

 

 

I remember reaching the 4 week point last time and feeling that suddenly things were working, and this has always been the point I aim for, so I’m going to check in on it again towards the end of Feb.  I was kinda shocked by my weight recently, so it has given me a kick up the ass.

I am so, so slow, though. I can cycle like a champ, but my running speed is super slow, and I’m feeling like my childhood asthma is rearing its ugly head again.  I pushed myself to run really fast for the last part of my run last night, and geez. I felt like I was going to die.

I love weight-lifting, though. It’s weird, but I get satisfaction out of working my arms and legs with dumbbells, etc.

Cardio can suck it.

 

Much thinner days, obviously.

Much thinner days, obviously.

 

One thing that does make working out tolerable, though, is the technology I can use to keep track.  I now have a heart monitor*** and use the apps Runkeeper and Fitocracy, as well as my latest adoption, Nike+ Running.  I can walk and cycle and track these with Runkeeper, and Run with Nike+ and then open Fitocracy to import those activities and add my weight training to get points! Bing bing power-up!

And I’m slowly coming around to the idea that all of this isn’t just for a “fix” but a lifestyle change, and that exercise just has to be a part of my life and general well-being.  I’ve known this for many many years, and said this to many friends, and know it’s the way forward and now I just need to freaking suck it up.

I ain’t so young any more.  It’s only going to get harder after 30!

 

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Coming soon:  anniversary gushing, Sarah Slean gig report (need to put up my vids and photos!).

 

…xxx

siggrey

 

 

 

 

*the adorable “team name”/term coined on Twitter for those of us getting in the fitness game for 2013.

**both at the gym, on equipment…

***bought for Dave, didn’t work for him, shamelessly pilfered.

There’s no business like stress business.

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I hate auditions. Well I love auditions… once they’re over.

Yesterday I had an audition that I’d been dreading since the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work. I love auditioning and all the nerves that lead you up to it. I love the ID and talking to the casting agents. I love being on set. I love everything that comes with show business.

Just not bikini auditions.

I was so nervous yesterday. It’s so ridiculous – I work myself up into this state where I can’t focus on anything else. I’m a professional: I’m 11 years in.
But this was different. I can handle the standard audition: nerves come and make me excited and a little scared. I sing in the car to push the nerves out, I bounce around.. most casting agents will let you vent a little energy in the room, too, before you start a take. But auditioning only in my bikini?

I’m sure most of you would have a problem jumping around in two little pieces of fabric in front of 2 men, lots of light and 2 cameras. But I’m supposed to relax and go with it. I’m very good at ‘winging it’.. but it’s harder when you’re thinking about whether or not your stomach is wobbling.

Yesterday I was at my office job right up to the audition. I wasn’t really concentrating too well on my work….

Before yesterday’s audition:
My stomach was sore from worry and I had the shakes. This, coupled with my long nails, made typing difficult.

I had to write a note. I was shaking too hard. I had to clap my hands to snap them out of it.

I was edgy. Anything anyone asked of me made me flustered. I had plenty of time to get everything done, but I just felt panic.

I was dressed like a cowgirl. I had a black top with an open salmon pink shirt over it (with designs on it), jeans (the ones that slip down if you bend over) and my cowgirl boots. This would have been ideal had I been auditioning for McLeod’s Daughters. So I had to go home first.

I drove like a maniac home, then all the way into town. You didn’t want to get in my way.

The audition:
Was embarrassing as hell, but as usual was over very fast.

After the audition:
I was calm.

I was bitching myself out for slipping up on one of the questions (I told them I had been in a commercial last year which may still be screening – BAD IDEA).

I realised I’d relaxed so much that I hadn’t watched my posture or stomach the entire time.

The 2nd guy was someone I had never worked with before. So now HE’S seen me in next to nothing.

I drove slowly.

I was completely red in the face.

It still amazes me that these things come up to stump me after all this time. I know I won’t get this role (no pessimism here, it’s just not me) and I knew that before I went in. But you go in anyway, so it looks like you’re active in the business. I feel very unsuccessful as of late, but these things take time. You unfortunately need the right role.

When I know that I’m unlikely for a role (lots of factors tell me this), I start to wonder why the audition happens, in the big scheme of things. Is this day of my life part of any greater purpose? Was I supposed to do this to face one of my fears of wearing next-to-nothing in a room of strangers?

It makes you wonder. You spend 7 hours tapping your feet and chewing almost through a pen beforehand.. then a lot of time criticising yourself afterwards, going over what you did wrong and what you could have done better.

When the bottom line is: they want something in particular. Whether or not you’re amazing doesn’t often factor into it.

If you get it, you get it, you don’t, you don’t. That’s my mantra in this industry. And most of the time, it keeps me sane.