Putting my mental health first

Everyone goes through good and bad times in their life, whether this be due to work load, relationships or family, but sometimes it’s important to take a step back from it all and give yourself a chance to breathe.

In recent weeks you will have seen I have been doing a ‘transformation’ with my local gym – unfortunately this has come to an end earlier than planned. Along with my commitment to the twelve week transformation, I am a third year university student with deadlines on the horizon, I have a part time job at a bar, I am the chair of the netball committee for the university, have been doing a two week work placement and have had several events on recently, including my own 21st birthday. Due to having so much on my plate, it was safe to say I was slowly drowning.

Everyone deals with things in different ways. Stress is my worst enemy; as many of you may know I have an anxiety disorder which is the best of friends with stress. Whilst one person may be able to stack their cards all the way to the top without crumbling, another person may only get to the second level and see it all come crashing down – for me it’s sometimes a struggle to get it to the first level, never mind the second.

Due to stress and anxiety, some days I was unable to leave my bed (shout out to my house mate Kath who physically dragged me out of bed in to university one day). I’d sit there with the feeling of the weight of the world on my shoulders – so cripplingly heavy I’d find myself unable to move and unable to think straight.

In the last week, two of my commitments have halted: work (due to my work placement temporarily taking priority) and my commitment to the ‘transformation’ with PureGym and I’ve felt like I can breathe again. I’ve not felt numb with stress, and I haven’t been breaking into tears on a daily basis. This is evidence to show sometimes it’s important to take a step back and to think what can be put on hold whilst you get your head straight.

For now, I may be a little bit poor and a little bit chunky but I’m happier than I have been in a good few weeks. Admitting you’re struggling doesn’t mean your weak, it means your human.

 

 

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Week 5 of my ‘transformation’

So, commencing week 5 of my personal training sessions with Pure Gym and I’m knackered. Health and lifestyle blogs will typically have a load of bullshit about how great they’re feeling and how they’re fit as ever, but this will be a more candid and honest representation…

I started this challenge at the same time I was beginning my third and final year of University, as well as working my part-time job at a bar and being chair of the netball committee so it’s fair to say I’ve put a lot of my plate. Along with that I suffer with anxiety which is best friends with stress, just to add to my worries. Why did I do this to myself you ask? I have no idea.

Working out is a fantastic stress buster and I would definitely be more stressed without it! You let it all out sprinting on the treadmill or squatting your personal best – so I’d advice anyone with anxiety or stress related issues to start hitting the gym. Getting a personal trainer like Chris is getting a councillor all in one as well – they’re there to make you feel the best version of yourself, physically and mentally.

My issue is food. Ok, you see Khloe Kardashian’s workouts on snapchat with her professional trainer but behind the scenes she probably has a high end chef to cook her whatever she wants and she can afford all the quinoa and kale she likes! A student like me cannot and I don’t always have the time to cook up a storm either – sometimes all I want to do is whack a curry in the microwave and get on my way (but the 900 calories a meal tell me to do otherwise).

Time and money isn’t my only issue relating to food. If you’ve had a long day at work, what’s the first thing you think about doing? Glass of wine? Takeaway? Chocolate? Yeah, I thought so. For me, if I’m stressed all I have to indulge on to cheer me up is an Alpen bar which just doesn’t work the same magic on my mood. Oh and then there’s all my friend’s 21st birthdays. Whilst they’re indulging on cake and wine, I’m there sipping a vodka Diet Coke wishing it was a glass of rosé the size of my head.

Actual training wise, it’s getting better but I find myself just wanting to be in bed when I’m there. If I had nothing else going on with my day I’d be totally up for it, ready and raring to go, but because I’m so tired I’m slightly lacking in motivation when I’m there. Despite this, Chris is great at giving me the kick up the arse that I need. He knows when I’m genuinely at “failure” compared to when I’m just not pushing hard enough which has assisted me in making some of the progress I have done.

Even though I am drowning in everything right now, seeing the beginnings of the changes I’ve been trying for keeps me going (especially when my boyfriend notices too!). I don’t just want to grind to a halt at the end of the 12 week period – I want to continue keeping up my fitness and staying in shape so I’m determined to get my head fully in the zone.

 

 

 

Week 1 of my 12 week ‘transformation’

After an amazing summer consisting of work experience in London, Manchester and Lancashire and two holidays, it was safe to say going to the gym was very low on my list of priorities. Whilst it was one of the best summers of my life, one thing wasn’t so great… my weight.

Being only 5ft 2.5 (the half means a lot, ok?) every pound gained shows and I found myself having to buy swimming costumes for the first time since being a child due to my lack of body confidence in a bikini; this is when I knew things needed to change. Luckily for me, an opportunity was given to me by Pure Gym in Salford (the gym I attend whilst at university) where I could get three months of free personal training for free due to a competition they were having. Obviously I said yes being a poor and out-of-shape student and this week was my first week of reality.

Starting off the week I went and did a healthy food shop cutting out all kinds of crap and saying goodbye to my dear friends wine, chips and chocolate. My trolly was filled with chicken, pork, veg and fruit and I was ready to take on this transformation.

My first training session with Chris was on Thursday and I walked into the gym knowing I was about to get annihilated. I spotted Chris on the steppers with the client he had before me and he shouted over, “You’re on here next!” and all I could think was, “f*ck.” Luckily, Chris went quite tame on me (well he seemed to think so anyway) for my first session knowing I’ve been out of play for a good few months. The weight exercises we did weren’t too much of a shock to the system, but the HIIT training he made me do was. 5 rounds later of sprinting on the spinning bike and 30 seconds on the ski machine I thought I was having a cardiac arrest and was sweating out of places I didn’t know I could sweat out of. I basically turned into a human jelly, but hey – I’ll be laughing in 12 weeks time, right?

Even after my second session today I’ve noticed my body is slowly but surely adapting to being active again. Luckily today’s HIIT session involved boxing therefore being able to punch Chris as revenge for all the hard work he’s putting me through – even though my punch is the equivalent of a small child’s at the moment.

Diet wise, it’s so far easier than I thought it would be for a chocoholic like myself. My tip is to just not buy in the things that will tempt you! Some of my meals have consisted of pork, rice and green beans and fish, mash and veg (all Aldi’s finest, of course). As great as  diet books like Lean in 15 are, am I the kind of person who can afford quinoa from Waitrose? Most definitely not. But don’t be disheartened, cheaper alternatives are always  available e.g. Aldi’s frozen lemon and herb battered bassa!

Watch this space for updates on how I’m getting on – pictures will follow once I stop looking like a human potato.

Is detox dieting a load of bullsh*t?

In recent years, everyone has become obsessed with ‘detoxing’ their bodies of toxins to become fitter and healthier versions of themselves – but the question is, is it a actually a load of crap?

Basically, yes. To continuously get rid of every single toxin in our body, we’d have to spend the majority of our lives on the toilet as that’s the main way to get rid of toxins. Toxins come from everywhere, from air pollution to food packaging to tap water; they’re pretty much inescapable. However, not all toxins are bad which commercial markets forget to remind you of so getting rid of all toxins could actually do your body more harm than good.

There are several celebrity endorsed brands like BooTea and FitTea who have the likes of Lucy Watson and Ashley Tisdale advertising them. Advertising these products to a large following of young, female instagrammers which could be detrimental as we are already living in a body obsessed world with 725,000 people in the uk having an eating disorder in 2015.

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Source: instagram @ashleytisdale

What the people who buy these commercialised “detox” diets do not know is that their bodies are already fully equipped to fight off bad toxins on their own. The human body is an amazing thing and with the help from the likes of our livers, kidneys and gastrointestinal systems we are perfectly fine battling off toxins by ourselves without having to spend ridiculous amounts of money on these detoxes (and ridiculous amounts of time on the toilet for that matter!).

Only 20% of dieting actually works. The majority of doctors will advise you to do the boring, old-fashioned technique of healthy eating, exercising more and eating smaller portions. With “detox” diets, they make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from the food were are ingesting because they’re going through our system too quickly as detox teas are a form of laxative. Due to this, it leads to people majorly lacking in energy because no energy has been absorbed so not only are you on the toilet all the time, you’re feeling pretty shitty too (pun intended). It’s extremely unlikely you will end up looking like the ridiculous toned and muscular girls who advertise these ‘teatoxes’ because you won’t actually have the energy to work out.

Linking to the laxative effect of the detox diets, it can often cause implications with taking the contraceptive pill. Many people have complained about getting pregnant whilst doing these diets despite taking their contraceptive pill like they usually would. The reason for this is, again, because it completely flushes everything out including your contraceptive pill! It isn’t that everyone one will become pregnant who does these diets, but it does massively increase your chances of accidentally doing so. Is shedding a few pounds worth accidentally getting pregnant? Nope.

Lastly, detox diets are all just a fad. You take them and yes, you shift a few pounds (that said shift, not shit) and you feel slimmer… but as soon as you stop taking the tea or juice or whatever it is, those pounds will just come back again.

In conclusion, these diets could make you feel rubbish, make you go to the toilet all the time, they don’t actually help you lose weight in the long term and could potentially make you pregnant with a baby you were not intending to have. Worth it? I think not.

Why we seriously need to talk about sun protection

With the UK seeing high temperatures in recent weeks and people’s summer holidays just around the corner, one thing that everyone’s looking to achieve is a gorgeous, glowing tan. With freckles on your nose and colour in your skin, you feel automatically more confident and more attractive; however people are failing to tan ‘safely’ with 15,419 cases of skin cancer in 2014.

One of those diagnosed in 2014 with skin cancer was Katie Greenall. Now 21, Katie was just 18-years-old when she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma – the most aggressive and life-threatening form of skin cancer. Despite never having used a sun bed or been badly burnt, Katie’s boyfriend noticed blood on her shirt where an usual looking mole was in the middle of her back. Within an hour of the Doctor seeing Katie’s mole, she was sent into surgery for it to be removed as soon as possible after realising it was cancerous. 82% of malignant melanoma cases in women are down to major lifestyle factors or other risk factors but unfortunately Katie fell into the 18% of people who got it “out of bad luck”.

Katie said, “I always thought it would never happen to me. When I went to the Doctors that day I was thinking, ‘It’s not going to be that’ – you don’t think it will ever happen to you. You’ve got to have that mind set of putting some sun cream on because it could happen to any of us.

“Skin cancer’s sort of pushed to the side. With breast cancer and stuff, they’re more in the spotlight – but cancer’s cancer no matter what it is, especially skin cancer as it’s the largest organ of your body.”

In 2014, there were 2,459 deaths in the UK due to skin cancer; luckily Katie’s was found early enough for the Doctors to successfully remove the cancerous mole before it spread to other parts of the body which malignant melanoma has a tendency to do.

“If no one noticed the blood on my shirt, I would not have known. I felt completely normal.”

There are two other main types of skin cancer which are more common than malignant melanoma; basal cell carcinoma (a cancer of the basal cells at the bottom of the epidermis) and squamous cell carcinoma (a cancer of the keratinocyte cells in the outer layer of the skin). Basal cell carcinoma is responsible for 75% of skin cancers. These types of cancers are typically caused by sun exposure as the UV rays damages the DNA in a persons skin cells. There’s also the issue of your tone of skin as those more fair skinned – blondes and red heads typically – are more at risk of sunburn. Getting sunburnt just once every 2 years can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer. For more information and support, click here

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Signs and symptoms to look for to make sure your moles/freckles and healthy and normal

Whilst the sun gives us vitamin D, which is an important part of the human body, it also gives off UV rays which can be seriously damaging . The chances of you getting burnt depend on the strength of the UV rays where you are. Throughout the UK today, the UV rays have been around 6 or 7 which is ‘high’ or ‘very high’ on the Met Office scale; click here to see for yourself. Cancer research advises that you protect your skin from the sun when the UV index is 3 or above. Another thing to take into account is that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 11am and 3pm in the UK.

Whilst getting a tan is great and you think the horrendous sunburn you’ve got will “turn into a tan tomorrow” – is damaging your skin so severely for a tan worth tripling your risk of skin cancer? Sunburn doesn’t have to be as extreme as peeling or blistering, if the skin is pink or red, it is sunburnt. Sunburn can also cause premature ageing as well. Is it worth looking 10-years-older than you are just for the sake of a bit of colour to your skin?

When the weather is lovely, it is inevitable you will be wanting to go outside to sit in the sunshine which is fine as long as you enjoy the sun safely. Ways you can do this are as follows:

  • Spend time in the shade throughout the day, whether this be inside, under a parasol or in a tent
  • Cover yourself up for parts of the day with clothing, wear a hat to protect the face and head and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes – it’s possible (but very rare) that people get skin cancer in their eye as well as the skin
  • Sun cream! Make sure you put enough on, that you put it on frequently (even those “once a day” types), use it along side shade and clothing for ultimate protection and don’t store sun cream in hot places as the heat can ruin the creams protective chemicals

Glamour magazine has recently raved about these SPF friendly products (hover over the pictures for details):

 

So don’t be that idiot with a t-shirt tan line the colour of a tomato this summer. Enjoy the sun safely because life long damage isn’t worth a temporary tan.

How to Help Anxious Friends

In the year 2013, there were 8.2 million mental heath cases in the UK alone. One of the 8.2 million was probably a friend of yours – they may have openly told you about it, or you may have put two and two together yourself. Helping someone with anxiety can be hard if you have no experience in doing so, so here are some tips on showing that you’re there for them. 

 

Firstly, try to understand what “anxiety” actually is. Do your research and try to understand what your mate is going through! Every human being will come across a feeling of ‘anxiety’ in their lifetime, but someone who suffers the mental disorder of anxiety has an abnormally anxious response to some day to day situations which most people would find just fine.

AnixetyUK define an anxiety disorder as the following: “Anxiety is a normal response to stress or danger and is often called the ‘flight or fight’ response. This process involves adrenalin being quickly pumped through the body enabling it to cope with whatever catastrophe may come its way. The problems arise when this response is out of proportion to the actual danger of the situation, or indeed is generated when there is no danger present.” 

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Secondly, check up on them. A simple text will mean a hell of a lot to them. Knowing you’ve got a friend there if you’re needing to talk is a great feeling as mental illness can cause a large sense of loneliness. Many people with a mental illness are reluctant to bother friends and family with their issues to prevent coming across as a burden, so if you text or call them first they won’t feel that way. Even if they don’t want to talk about anything, it’s nice to know someone is there and thinking of you.

As Charlie from Perks of Being a Wallflower says, “I’m both happy and sad at the same time and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

Thirdly, still ask them out with you. Unfortunately, people with anxiety often don’t want to go out much, but the invite still means a lot. Even though you’re 90% sure they’ll decline, by still asking them it makes them feel wanted. Also, anxious people may need a bit more persuasion to go out – try to gently encourage them to come out with you if you know it is something they’ll probably enjoy, without pressuring them into it.

Fourthly, expect mood swings. Sometimes your friend will be on Cloud 9, other times they’ll be unbelievably sad and often they won’t actually know why. As Charlie says in Perks of Being a Wallflower, “I’m both happy and sad at the same time and I’m trying to figure out how that can be.”  There will be times when your anxiety-filled friend will just want to be off grid for a bit, other times they’ll be happy to come and socialise.

Fifthly, don’t ask obvious questions or say obvious comments. Some things can really sting for an anxious person. In my opinion, the worst ones are “What do you have to be anxious about?” – well this is the issue isn’t it, it wouldn’t be an anxiety disorder if I was anxious about normal things. Also, “Just be happy!” – if it was that bloody easy I would be but unfortunately my brain and thoughts aren’t currently letting me.

Lastly, try to be non-judgemental. As the video above shows, those ‘dramatic’ feelings they get are genuine. Anxiety can cause you to drown in your thoughts making the anxiety swallow you up. This is why people are reluctant to speak to people about how they’re feeling because they think people will think they’re being overdramatic – the more empathetic and approachable you are to your friend, the more likely they are to talk to you.

Overall, anxious people are sensitive beings and need a little extra looking after compared to some of your other friends. As well as the negative aspects of it, there are positives to being friends with an anxious person; they’re extremely thoughtful and very empathetic meaning they are great listeners. To distract them from their own anxieties, they like to help others. It’s not all that bad being friends with a nervous Nelly.

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Source: giphy

“What’s More Important, Your Boobs or Your Life?”

Similar to Angelina Jolie, Grace Marshall and Lydia Hughes may have inherited the BRCA gene meaning they too need to consider major surgeries in the future…

Grace, a 21-year-old civil servant, and Lydia, a 20-year-old Lancaster university student, may have the BRCA2 gene meaning they have a lifetime cancer risk of 70%. Most women have a 12.5% lifetime risk.

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Grace (left) and Lydia (right)- Source: Facebook

Women with the BRCA2 gene need to consider major preventative surgery like mastectomies and hysterectomies which is a difficult decision to make, especially at the age of 20 and 21.

The BRCA gene (types one and two) are a genetic mutation that increases a person’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer in women, and breast and prostate cancer in men. The gene itself does not cause the cancer to occur; the BRCA mutation impairs the cell’s ability to repair DNA damage making it easier for a cell to become cancerous.

Grace’s mother and Lydia’s auntie, Diane, was diagnosed with cancer in 2001.  After a family history of breast cancer she was tested to see if she had the gene. Unfortunately, Diane did have the BRCA2 mutation, and soon after finding out, two of her three sisters found they had the gene too. This lead to their double mastectomies and hysterectomies.

Most young women are thinking about planning what holiday to go on next year, or what festival to go to, but that is different for girls like Lydia and Grace. They will soon have to decide when to take these genetic tests to find out if they have inherited this gene; and from that plan when and if to have preventive surgeries.

“When I was 18 my Mum didn’t want me to find out and I wasn’t bothered either way,” Grace said. “Now Mum’s like, ‘I think you’re mature enough to know’. At the end of the day, it is my choice.”

Lydia said, “I’m not going to have it now, so I’m not going to know. Because I’m not having it now I’m just going to continue as normal until I do have it. I feel like I know that these decisions are coming up but I don’t have to think about that until I have the test. It’s like it will become real if I do have it.”

Lydia currently plans on having the test in her late 20’s, whilst Grace said the only reason she has not had it yet was because she’s been busy, not because she is wanting to hold it off.

Lydia explained her reasoning for wanting to hold off  on having the test, “If i found out now then I have to make these decisions now, and I don’t want to because I’m 19 [at the time of the interview], living at uni, and just… that’s not what I want to think about.”

Despite the big decisions after having the genetic testing, Grace said nothing would stop her having the test done, “ I see my auntie Colette and Claire, they’ve had the gene and they’re fine, and I see my Mum who got the actual cancer and well… she’s not fine, but she’s lived for over ten years. If I do get it there are things to stop it, and if it is terminal, you can still live quite a lengthy life with it.”

Lydia also had quite an optimistic view on her chances of having the BRCA2 gene, “It doesn’t bother me because I knew my Mum (Colette) and auntie Claire had the gene and I know that there’s options so I can just have preventative surgery giving me the same chance as everyone else.”

People who have the BRCA2 gene have a 50/50 chance of passing it on to their children. When Lydia was asked if it would stop her having children she said, “No because I know how we have been growing up knowing this and I know that we have all been fine with it. I know by the time that we have kids, my Mum’s been telling me they’re finding new ways to treat it and flip the gene so it’s not mutated anymore, so by the time I have kids this might have come into fruition.”

However Grace had different thoughts, “If I did have it (the gene), I’d never have a child without making sure that the child wasn’t going to get it because I don’t want to pass it on anymore.”

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Finding out you may inherit a gene like the BRCA2 and deciding to have genetic testing to find out can be stressful for any young adult, and not everyone will have the same family support and positive outlook as Grace and Lydia’s.

From one young adult in this situation to another, Grace said, “I think if you are stressing about it you should find out. If it’s something that plays on your mind every day, then you need to know. Think about how many people have it, and how many people live with it, I don’t think it should be a thing that is hidden away from. There should be more of casual look on it. Sometimes it’s like the C bomb isn’t it?”

Lydia said, “Even though you do have a gene that puts you at a higher risk, it’s a blessing in disguise because then it opens the doors to so much more help. You’d get offered so many things, like counselling, and more screenings more regularly. We might have a higher chance of getting  cancer, but we have a higher chance of it being found early and treated properly.”

If you are struggling with finding out the results of your test, contemplating having the test done or you’re simply just wanting to know more about genetic mutations, go online to www.cancerresearchuk.org or go speak to your local GP.

Embracing Curves

We now live in an extremely judgmental society controlled by influences by social media, porn and photoshop. This causes girls, like myself, to be highly critical towards themselves after looking at girls in magazines that are completely airbrushed and photoshopped into looking ‘perfect’. No wonder 725,000 people in 2015, in the UK alone, were affected by an eating disorder. 

However, curves became more into fashion when the likes of Kim Kardashian-West became more and more famous for her rather spectacular rear. People like Kim caused people to realise curves are pretty damn sexy. However, Mrs Kardashian-West can afford to get perfectly fitted Balmain clothes whilst I’m in Topshop jumping up and down in the changing rooms trying to slide my jeans over my thighs. Kate Moss once said, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”… she’s obviously never tried Millie’s Cookies.

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As you can see, a thigh gap has never really been my forte. From a young age I’ve had chunky legs, partly inherited through genetics of muscly legs, partly because salad is the devil. (p.s those sunglasses of mine were VERY cool at the time.) Then compared to now, I still have my thick thighs which I’m slowly becoming to accept.

I think every teenage girl goes through body image issues coming to terms with the fact they don’t like things about themselves; whether it’s because of having small boobs, bad skin, chunky thighs or whatever. But bigger bodies have started to be embraced in the media recently.

Example 1) Ashley Graham 

28-year-old american, Ashley Graham, weighs 14 stone and pulls it off brilliantly. This year, Graham became the first ever plus size model to be on the front cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. She speaks openly about body image; she’s spoken on television about it, to newspapers and even goes into high schools to speak to students about it. For more pictures of Ashley, follow her on instagram! (@theashleygraham).

2) Iskra Lawrence 

Stunning Iskra Lawrence is size 14 and an English “plus size” model taking the world by storm. She is the managing editor at Runway Riot, a website meant to be an outlet for women of all shapes and sizes to learn about glamour. Iskra refuses to have any of her instragram pictures retouched in anyway, to see for yourself check out her page: @iamiskra.

3) Robyn Lawley 

Australian size 12 beauty, Robyn Lawley, has done covers for big magazines like Italian Vogue, Elle France, GQ and Cosmopolitan Australia. Also, in June 2013, Robyn was awarded Model of the Year during the Full Figured Fashion Week showing that curvy models don’t go unnoticed! To see more of Robyn, follow her on instagram: @robynlawley.

I have utter most respect for the Kendall Jenner’s and Bella Hadid’s out there, but us Ashley Graham’s of the world need some more confidence in knowing we can be equally as sexy as all the hot Victoria’s Secret models! Embrace your body, whether you’re a size 8 or 18.

Sources: healthyceleb.com, b-eat.co.uk & iskralawrenceblog.tumblr.com

Sticking Out the 5:2 Diet

Summer is just around the corner, and people like myself have realised they want to shed their “winter coat” for holidays. 6 weeks in and half a stone down, this is the most successful diet I’ve done and actually stuck at. 

What is the 5:2 diet, I hear you ask? Also know as the ‘fast diet’, it  consists of fasting twice a week and only consuming 500 calories (600 calories for men) whilst other days eating normally. Ok, I’m not going to lie to you and say eating 500 calories a day is easy, because it’s definitely not, but over time it becomes part of your routine! It all comes down to how badly you want it. Finding some form of motive is always a good idea – what I did was buy a £70 Victoria’s Secret bikini for the holidays I have coming up that was slightly too small for me. I wasn’t up for throwing £70 down the toilet, so that was my personal motive.

Something I should point out is the first couple of pounds are a bit of a bastard to shift. It took two or three weeks for me to notice the numbers dropping on the scales, and staying down. Just stick it out and be patient! Apparently, on average you should be losing around 1 lb a week. Don’t think that’s much? This is what a pound of fat looks like against a pound of muscle:

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Source: novemberchallenge.com

 

Pros to the diet

Anyone who knows me will agree when I say I may just possibly be the world’s fussiest eater; so if you’re a salad hating, chocolate lover like me, this diet can still work. Due to it being so little calories only twice a week, it’s bearable. You don’t have to stuff your face with avocado and kale on a daily basis. Winner! There a several books with recipe ideas if you’re struggling for inspiration, such Dr Michael Mosley & Mimi Spencer’s ‘The Fast Diet‘.

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Source: dietspotlight.com

It’s easy to work around. It’s good to get into a routine of what days you’ll do it, helps become a normal part of your week, but for example if you know you have dinner with friends on Friday when you usually do your fast day, just can just swap the fast day for a day more suitable for you.

If you’re already a gym goer, that will work massively in your favor! Anything to assist the diet in burning calories is always a good idea.

You don’t have to calorie count on your non-fast days. Hooray! No one enjoys the ball ache of calorie counting and constantly weighing out food. But bare in mind, if you’re having dominoes or take away Chinese twice a week on your normal days… it’s not going to work very well. Eat normally but not stupidly.

In the long run, it will shrink your appetite on normal days. You’ll find yourself craving less and less unhealthy foods and feel full & satisfied a lot quicker. This means you’ll lose the weight and hopefully keep it off too.

Cons to the diet

It’s difficult. Like I mentioned earlier, you have to be motivated and genuinely be up for sticking with it. The diet days can be quite grueling, especially if you’re used to eating a particularly large amount.

You don’t realise the calories in things until you’re on your diet day. In a crumpet alone there’s 98 calories which is almost 1/5 of your daily fast intake… for one bloody crumpet. Be wise with what you eat – eat wholesome foods with a low calorie count but will keep you full. ‘MyFitnessPal’ app became my best friend on fast days. It has a great feature where you can scan the bar code of the thing you’re going to eat to save you having to input all the details of it.

There may be side effects of intermittent fasting. These may include:

  • difficulties sleeping
  • bad breath (a known problem with low carbohydrate diets)
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • dehydration
  • daytime sleepiness

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For me, I have only noticed daytime sleepiness due to the fact I don’t get many sources of energy throughout the day from eating so little. From the perspective of someone who suffers with anxiety, I have not notice a particular increase in mine since going on the diet.

A top tip to get you through your fast days would be to not do it on a day you have loads going on. You’ll get drained extremely easily! On the other hand don’t do it on a day your literally doing nothing because you’ll just sit around thinking about how damn hungry you are. Try keep yourself occupied enough so you’re not constantly thinking about food, but not so occupied you’re knackered by lunchtime.

 

 

Sources: transformfxfitness, nhs.uk, giphy

 

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