I am sure you have seen this picture doing the rounds on a lot of facebook pages and websites all over the web recently, its taken from an article in the Daily Mail about a woman in the UK currently morbidly obese and blaming this fact on her benefits being too low, not enough income therefore she can only afford to live on junk food.
I’m vastly vastly disappointed by the things I’ve read, not only by commenters on the posts but by healthy living bloggers themselves. It leads me to struggle to see compassion exists and I’ve unfollowed a fair few because I cannot be part of something, or give my approval via “like” which is so poorly thought out and misunderstood but purports to be a “healthy” place for people. Snarky place, Shaming place, Superior place are rarely words used in descriptions of facebook groups. Healthy is more than the gym and the apple, its an attitude towards other human beings – in the public eye or not – and an attitude to the genuine struggle that some people face.
When I look at that woman, see her talk about how healthy is unattainable for her, I see myself a few years ago. Not full of excuses as the people of those pages have judged her as but full of fear and envy. Full of the belief that there are quick fixes to a weigh problem that goes far far deeper than understanding budgeting. I’m going to attack this 2 fold.
This was initially in a gossip mag but then it went viral after being picked up by the Daily Mail. The daily
fail mail for those who don’t know is one of the most read online newspapers, it’s also considerably right wing, backed by shady corps and generally likes to put stories in it to a) prompt a reaction from ignorant people – “Muslamics are stealing our thoughts” style, it will dig into peoples life and selectively pick as many details as they can to make the person seem stupid or give you reasons on a platter to judge them without a second thought. In short they like to cause outrage and discontent. They are supporters of UKIP and the Tory Party. They hate Europe almost as much as they hate women.
What I particularly *love* about this paper is how they love to shout about what deadbeats single parents are, how they are failing their children. How the women who raise their children alone are failing them. Let that sink in for a minute. They attack the women who stay and raise their kids rather than the men who leave them. Single dads however are some kind of messiahs to be worshiped and the mothers who left devil women with only sex and drugs on the brain. There are inequalities between women and men you could say.
They love to bash the overweight too, its easy fodder for creating discord and prompting people who love to gloat and express the kind of views which make me despair for humanity.
Benefit claimants are probably their favourite fish in barrels to shoot. They get too much, they don’t spend it “properly”, its not restrictive enough, they should be shot in the street. You get the picture. Again they miss out actual facts, figures and real things to let people make their own minds up.
So women – Check, single parent – check, benefit claimant – check, and overweight – check.
So is the Daily Mail is good source for real debate and conversation. Er. Nope.
There are reasons that peoples weight creeps up or shoots up, there are reasons why it becomes out of control, it isn’t just budgetary complaints and most reasonable people realise that. They realise that whatever the excuse the person is coming up with at the time is largely because they’ve been put on the spot to make one. I had loads. I’m busy, I just had a baby, I’m ill, I’ve got bad joints, I’m not bothered, etc etc etc. There are a number of reasons used but all of them added up to one thing. I was really really scared of failing and I didn’t really think I should treat my body well. I didn’t know what I deserved.
Thats what worries me about all the “lazy” comments and the judgemental comments about her intelligence. Hearing, even well meaning, criticism of my lifestyle, weight or anything in that ballpark just sent me further in to that mindset that I didn’t deserve anything. This woman is now well known across the western world and people are judging her.
What disappoints me is that I’ve seen fitness trainers calling out her “excuses” without any further thought to the barriers that might be there, barriers they must come across in their work, and possibly barriers that mean that they don’t keep clients for long. When will people learn that belittling and demanding change are the LEAST successful change mechanisms?! Its hardly complex thinking.
I know that when things click for you and weight starts coming off you can see your own excuses but it seems that a lot of people who’ve lost weight forget what a challenge it was to live at a high weight, what a challenge trying to walk in to a gym is when gym clothes are difficult to get in your size and your the biggest person in the room, forget what it is to run that first 60 seconds and feel like your lungs are going to explode, and they forget what it is to fight through everyday facing the problems that got you there without resorting to food. Its a challenge every day in that phase and if you’re battling cripplingly low self esteem and a massive fear of failing too. You’re almost set up to fail from the word go and if you’re already scared of that then double whammy.
Compassion will always win out in these situations. Understanding, patience, a boost in self esteem. All things I struggled to get but when I started to I started to fly.
I can’t imagine if my life had stayed the same whether I could have made it even as far as I have. I very much doubt that I could of, there were too many things weighing me down to allow me to move forward. I had to let go of a lot of grief, I still am letting go with the help of a lovely woman, but it had to go to allow me to live and be me again. I lost my whole self underneath all that weight. The weight represented fear, loathing (but not las vegas!).
So what I ask of the healthy living community, if you’ve lost a lot of weight, remember what it was to be that size and what a battle is was not to be, if you haven’t please learn to listen to those of us who have with some empathy and compassion. Everyone in life has challenges but not everyone wears them for the world to see and judge.
I’m pretty sure everyone in the western world has seen something telling them that sleep is important in weight loss and general wellbeing. I’ve seen it a million times. This weeks challenge on the Whole Life Challenge was no surprise. Get 7 hours of sleep a day. So from 00:00 – 23.59 you should be clocking up 7 hours.
I know when I’m tired I eat more, I don’t function nearly as well and I’m generally not a happy bunny, plus I look like crap, its not a look I can pull off at all! I’m an 8-9 hours sleep girl ideally but with a child, a full time job, a lovely boyfriend and study to do it’s hardly surprising that that doesn’t always happen.
I loved this infographic about the perils of little sleep :
Sleep is so key for me, when I don’t sleep well I don’t function properly, I am irritable, I’m tearful, I’m shockingly bad at thinking, I crave sugar, crave that pick me up and crave the feeling I get when I’m well rested.
So when the challenge came around I embraced it I love the sleepy times!
Sleep hygiene is something that I think is super important. Shutting down your laptop and switching off your tv an hour before bed really does help you sleep. Not using electronics in bed really helps not only with getting to sleep but staying asleep. My trouble is that any stresses in my life, even if I cope with them fine in the day time come out in my sleep, broken sleep, bad dreams and sucky sleep patterns become apparent really quickly and I have to tackle my stresses to correct my sleep or everything gets worse!
Cutting caffeine out of my diet has very definitely helped things along too. The only caffeine I have now is from the occasional caffeinated tea and the very occasional diet coke. I try not to drink them less than an hour before bed.
Other things I’ve noticed is the more hours I get before midnight the better I feel. No matter how many hours I get in total. So even if I slept 1am to 10am I’d not feel as good as 9pm to 6am. I weird thing which generally makes my friday nights less raving and more snoring!
Sleep is good for every single bit of your health from blood pressure to weight loss to mental health! It’s vitally important so make sure you get your sleep tonight!
What’s your best sleep tip? Do you have a routine?
Recently my best friends have been pinterest (when isn’t it?) and Well Fed 2 and I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been eating with my family.
First up, by far my fav has been the BBQ beef, and sweet potato hash (I don’t have a waffle maker but I want one!) from Well Fed 2 (the link takes you to Michelle Tam on Nom Nom Paleo cooking it)
Another simple recipe which we love full of veggies on our meat free day of the week and is super tasty
My obsession with all things salted caramel and overnight oats totally continues and when I stumbled across this and it has spawned a million shakes and overnight oats in our house. Its amazing.
I absolutely loved this snack recipe, I managed to bust up my blender making it and have my eyes on an awesome new one now, but will have to wait till after Christmas!
I amended these to fit the WLC but they are amazing and I think will be even more amazing with honey or maple syrup in. I highly recommend them!
Last week I wrote about wanting the perfect week, WLC style anyway, and the week that followed was far from perfect. It went well for around 4 days, the rest not so good.
Like I said it started well, I was racking up the perfect scores for a few days and then something happened, I started to care less about it and I drifted in to bad habits as a stressful, busy and emotional week took hold once again. Today (Monday) I feel cross with myself. We are nearly half way through the challenge and I don’t feel like I’ve made any progress with my weight. I’m pretty sure I’m maintaining, I’m not gaining, clothes fit fine and things aren’t too bad in the bloating area but I should be losing and my score reflects the reason why. I’m dropping nutrition points left right and centre which can’t continue but I think my reasons are different from usual but there are themes.
Largely I’m starting to develop a different attitude to my life and its changed beyond recognition in recent years, I’m adjusting to my new body, I’m fitting in to smaller clothes and I’m enjoying the life I’m building for myself and my family. I’m enjoying life even though I have countless things happening which cause ongoing stress.
Someone quite wise told me that I can’t keep going in every direction at 100 mph, I have to give myself some time to adjust, understand and find my way in one direction, it’s imperative now that I don’t get lost and have to walk over the same ground all over again. I want to enjoy my life and the never ending pressure to lose weight (that I put on myself more than anything) doesn’t help me enjoy my life. I actually found myself in tears earlier today talking about how worried I was that I’d not be able to workout enough and concentrate on my food enough to lose weight while in the busiest few months of the year (Oct – Dec) and next year when I know there will be a considerable further upheaval. I need to change how I’m thinking about these things and I’m starting to but it means that lots of other things are going to have to change and the wheels are starting to turn for that to happen.
I’m undergoing some therapy at the moment to sort out some things that happened in the past, its a kind of trauma based therapy and it is kicking up some dust in my brain, it’s quite confronting at times. It leaves me exhausted afterwards. I am trying not to use food to prop me up during that after shock but it’s hard, I wont lie. It’s been a comfort and a habit for a long time and I’m trying to direct my energy elsewhere. One thing that it’s thrown up is my value of myself. In so many ways its massively improved from what it was. I didn’t realise quite how bad it still was until things that I didn’t even realise were a reflection of my self worth until I started being challenged by an outsider.
So things will be changing, I really have to allow for what I need now and not what I want. Thats a shift in focus for me, I’ve always chased what I’ve wanted, what I need to do right now is really think about my needs and meet them fully. Thats my focus for this week.
I said last week that this week I was setting myself a pretty lofty goal and I debated whether or not to share it with you because a) I don’t want to fail and have to bear that out on here and b) I didn’t know how responsible it was to share what is essentially an unrealistic goal. I’ve talked a lot about perfectionism and this is one of those times but I feel like, for once, I have a solid argument to back that up!
I set myself the goal that from Saturday to Saturday that I would get the perfect score on the whole life challenge. Every.Single.Day.
To explain, to get a perfect score I will need to:
- Drink around 2l of water a day
- Take my supplement
- Follow the lifestyle challenge (this week it’s: to make to do lists in a certain way)
- Stretch every day (this has been a yoga routine for me)
- Write a daily reflection
All that as well as not lose any points on nutrition. Every day I start the day with 5 points for nutrition, everytime I eat something that is not concordant with my chosen eating plan (lifestyle in my case) I lose a point. So far in the challenge this has been my biggest bit but I’m hoping that by really focussing myself for a whole week I’m going to get myself through the cravings and the stupid wants and really feel that sense of achievement that comes from knowing I’ve done a good job at the challenge.
So far this week I’m achieving my goal and it’s not been too much of a struggle, time management has been important and just doing the workout even when I don’t want to!
It doesn’t mean I’ve been hitting the gym to slaughter myself every day, I’ve planned my gym use and workouts carefully so that it all is manageable and sustainable, I’ve been stretching like crazy to avoid the dreaded DOMS and I’ve been putting to work some PMA. Thats Positive Mental Attitude rather than Pre Manageable Ambling or Post Movement Avenging or Polite Manhandling of Asses, ahem, well you get the idea. Fitting in a workout sometimes means Jillian Michaels in my living room or a quick run outside.
Hitting the goals has been straight forward because thats how I run my days anyway! I always have a list on the go so it’s the only way to organise all the balls I’m juggling. I found the weekend fairly straightforward for food, it felt like something clicked when I made this commitment to myself and I didn’t crave the junk anymore. It was great! It’s more of a struggle when i’m out and about but I’ve been planning well, preparing well and loving the choices we are making.
How do you guys stay planned and productive? Do you make lists? Set reminders?