Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body

Mens sana in corpore sano - a sound mind in a sound body... a healthy mind in a healthy body...

My sister gave me this mug for my birthday and it couldn't of come at a better time. Lately I've become aware of just how much my body image and relationship with food consumes my day to day life. I literally spend my whole day thinking about food. I've always been a big foodie, but it feels like it's taking over my life. I spend every day counting calories, macros, obsessing over the numbers and planning what I'll eat over the next week. All of this in the name of being fit and healthy.

If I go over my calories or macros, I freak out and beat myself up about it, psychologically punishing myself. On the other hand, if I'm under my calorie count I use it as an excuse to eat more... well I wouldn't want to starve myself and lose muscle mass, would I? Then I regret it. And then there's the times I have a week or 2 of not eating a single "bad" food, but then have an overwhelming compulsion to eat chocolate. I don't just stop at 2 squares though - I eat the whole bar and then carry on eating anything I can find, shovelling it down my throat and stuffing myself to the point I feel sick. Then, of course, I hate myself for losing control and binging like some sort of crazy person discovering peanut butter for the first time. I look in the mirror at my bloated belly and tell myself I'm a terrible person for undoing all my hard work from the previous week. I've turned down dinners with friends to avoid ending up in this situation. I spent the week before my birthday stressing about where I'd be going for lunch, would there be a healthy option, what if somebody buys cake?! Not because I'd refuse to eat any of it, but because I'd over indulge and be back in the never ending cycle of binge and regret. Whats healthy about any of this? 

I'm only just beginning to realise how obsessive and disordered my eating habits actually are. I just want to go back to being able to eat food and enjoy it, because I happened to fancy it at that time, not because it's what I think I should be eating. While I 100% believe that keeping a food diary and tracking macros can work, if anything it's a useful tool for assessing your diet and seeing where you're going wrong, it clearly isn't working for me. If it's making you obsessive, irrational and self destructive, is it really worth it?

I've decided to take a step back and stop tracking my food. Hopefully I'll still manage to maintain a healthy, balanced diet but I won't be counting calories or macros. My fridge is stocked with healthy, nutritious foods that I like and I'll try to just eat whatever I fancy at the time, and not feel guilty about any of it. I won't schedule specific meals for specific days and I won't fall out with Gordon when he doesn't want to eat the same thing as me! This weeks shopping trip turned out to be pretty stressful... I started to panic slightly about not knowing what I'd be eating for lunch each day. Let's just say I'll probably be getting shares in John West pretty soon...

There's been moments this week that I've wanted to religiously type everything into myfitnesspal ("Have I had enough protein today?!") but I've managed to resist! It's still constantly on my mind though. I'm in the middle of planning a wedding and buying a house for God's sake - my mind should be occupied with these things rather than how many grams of carbs I've consumed! I am literally terrified that I'll be fat by next week, but surely my sanity comes first? 

Time to look at the bigger picture and enjoy life. Healthy mind, healthy body...

Friday, 26 June 2015

Kale & Feta Omelette

Omelettes are one of my favourite meals. They're quick, easy and you can have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner... any time of the day really. I say they're easy, but it's taken me about 2 years to master them! This recipe is one of my favourites to throw together after a Saturday at work. I pack it full of egg whites, chicken and turkey bacon for extra protein, and the feta and kale makes it super tasty!
  • 1 egg, 4 egg whites
  • 25g feta cheese
  • 50 g cooked chicken
  • 1 slice turkey bacon
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 handful of kale
  • Salt & pepper

Switch on your grill, chop and mix everything together apart from the feta and kale. Lightly coat a frying pan with any oil of your choice, allow the pan to heat slightly and then pour in the mixture. Cook for roughly 5 minutes on a medium heat, until the outer edges are cooked right through. Sprinkle the kale and feta on top, remove the pan from the heat and pop it under the grill instead. It only needs another 5 minutes here, so that the rest of the egg mixture cooks through, the feta starts to melt and the kale begins to crisp up...... YUM! Take the pan out and slide the omelette onto a plate, no flipping skills needed!

Approximately 320 calories, 43g protein, 13g carbs, 10g fat.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

SAMH: The Cetco Ythan Challenge

Towards the end of last year I started taking part in obstacle course races. This year I decided to do them again but to raise money for charity. I chose the Scottish Association for Mental Health for personal reasons, and so far I've managed to raise £310 - thank you to every single person who has donated so far!

My first race was this time last week. The Ythan challenge is a 11k-ish course with mud, obstacles and a few dips in the freezing cold river! There wasn't as many obstacles as some of the races I've done before, and they weren't as hard either, but it turns out it was actually more like 13.5k (according to one of the marshalls) which means lots and lots of running. I suck at running so I still found the race pretty challenging! I ended up with 2 friends from the gym which helped me keep going even though my legs felt like giving up. My goal was to complete it in an hour and a half and I managed to finish in 1 hour 28 mins, which I'm quite pleased with.

Anyway, I took my GoPro along on the day and filmed this video, so if you fancy seeing how I got on give it a watch!

You get such a buzz when you reach the finish line and collect your medal! I'm a firm believer in using exercise to maintain good mental health - endorphins and all that jazz! - and the Ythan Challenge was lots of fun. If there's any OCRs near you, I recommend you sign up and get training, it'll do wonders for your health and self esteem.

To donate to SAMH through justgiving you can click here or text "CBMH83 £amount" to 70070. Every penny counts and I am so grateful for all the support I've had so far - roll on the Beast Race in September!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Eating London: The Ivy Chelsea Garden

Getting a table at the Ivy Chelsea Garden is a pain in the backside. We were told they couldn't change our booking time or add a couple of guests to our table, despite the fact that when we arrived there was plenty of empty tables and even space to squeeze a couple of chairs round the table we were at. The unaccommodating booking system has clearly been designed to make the new restaurant seem exciting and unobtainable. They did however move us from inside to the outdoor garden area on request, which was nice...

Both areas of the restaurant are beautifully decorated - I want those lights! It was a Monday afternoon and the garden was full of perfectly dressed, blow dried ladies and men in chinos. The atmosphere was a little too uptight and pretentious for my liking. Of all the Chelsea restaurants I've visited, this is the only one that's felt like this. We were even told by one waitress that their policy was not to take photos for diners, even though we could take them ourselves, because of the celebrities... what celebrities?

I was trying to keep up a healthy, protein based diet while we were away, so couldn't help myself when I saw the "Which whey to go?" on the menu. A mix of vanilla whey and almond milk with added amino acids! All about the gains in Chelsea... Gordon had a peach and elderflower iced tea, which wasn't as good as his favourite cherry iced tea from Bumpkin!

We both opted for fish for lunch - the fish and chips for Gordon and Chelsea Garden fish cake for me. Neither of the dishes looked anything special, and Gordon didn't really enjoy his (sh*t chips apparently) but mine was a treat! Afterwards I ruined all my healthy eating efforts by ordering dessert...

It was worth it. The strawberry shortcake sundae was Gordon's dessert of the day - vanilla ice cream topped with creme Chantilly, meringue, shortcake and strawberries! I'm a sucker for a chocolate bombe though... The waiter pours hot salted caramel sauce over the sphere of chocolate and it melts into the ice cream, honeycomb and popping candy centre! Don't tell anyone but I think I actually enjoyed it more than Bob Bob Ricard's version.

Our experience at The Ivy Chelsea Garden was fine. The service was a little slow and confusing, with too many different waiting staff attending our table but it is a gorgeous setting. The food was average, nothing to write home about. The highlight was definitely the chocolate bombe but overall the restaurant has been over hyped and I wouldn't rush back.
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