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Ok – this is a post of two parts! First part = normal. Second part = stuff about my blog, the dreaded Marie Claire article, and healthy living blogs on a whole. It’s quite the essay, and I have nowhere near made all the points I’d like to – but do read it if you have time 🙂

In the words of Oliver Twist himself, FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD!! That’s how today’s intake has felt 😀

A giant apple (and a rice cake, and wheat germ and brazil nuts) pre run:

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What a beauty! I then set out to tackle 5miles….5miles is actually on the plan as Wednesday’s run, but I decided to do it today (cross training day) instead – it’s due to rain tomorrow, so I felt today would be best 😀 Anyway – it was GOOD! Despite the lack of sleep last night (boy do I hate seeing the time flick to 1.30am….), I felt great this morning 🙂 The five was done in 44.36, an 8.55 min/mile pace <- perfect for the distance! My legs were a liiiittle bit achey, but mentally I felt good. Some events happened last night, which led to some things being said, which led to me feeling much better today. Yay!

Breakfast…ah, breakfast.

  • cereal
  • banana
  • pear
  • yogurt
  • peanut butter
  • vanilla essence
  • dates, almonds, blackberries

Holy.

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Yum.

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One of the greatest bowls ever. And I know I say that a lot, but it really really was!!!

After breakfast (and a lot of time spent reading blog comments, and the arrival of a very exciting package!!, and a dog walk in the rain) I rode. Chika decided to give me a heart attack today.

I took her in the school for a good session – we’ve had a 4 day break (rain, shopping, running, work) so it was lovely to get back 🙂 Despite the scary smoking muckheap (there’s always something with Chika), she was a super girl, soft and light, and tried hard. I put her back in the stable, took a few awful photos to show how sweaty she got in her winter woolies:

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My lil donkey face 🙂
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And then got her a few nuts as a post-workout treat. She has a handful of nuts regularly after she works, and has done in the 5.5yrs I’ve had her. She was feeing pretty greedy today though…and gave herself a choke! For non-horsey people that just means..she was choking. Except, horses can’t throw up, so if they get food stuck in their throat, it can’t come back up. It’s horribly scary to watch, cos they make funny sounds and look like they’re retching and coughing and…well, choking. Needless to say, I was worried! I phoned the vet, who said they’d someone out immediately (there’s a chance the throat can be ripped by whatever is stuck). Thankfully however, after about 15mins since it started, the food got dislodged and she was ok again. Crisis averted!! Bloody horses…..!!!!

Lunch – awesome. I made pancakes! I was gonna do a sweet potato, but then pancakes appeared in my head, and the seed was planted….

Things that make me happy: bubbles in perfect round cakes of the pan!

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Perfect, perfect, PERFECT!

Alongside, I roasted up (in smokey bbq seasoning) a load of veggies –

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That would be a butternut, grown by my gran 😀 I also did sprouts, leek, parsnip and summer squash.

How do you make perfect pancakes better? Why, you top them with a load of hummus of course!

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The squash was delish – it was crispy on the outside, but sweet and soft on the inside..my gran has talent :p

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GOOOOOOOOOD gracious. Lunch, glorious lunch!!! I also had a square of chocolate for dessert 🙂

The afternoon was spent horsing, reading, and writing this epically long blog post to follow…..

——–

Ok, so in light of the Marie Claire article (combined with the comments I read that were left on the blogs in question), a – somewhat rude – comment I received yesterday, and my own feelings about healthy living blogging/my blog, I feel it is necessary for me to write this. I can’t guarantee what I say will be in any logical or structured order – mainly cos I can see Chika staring at me from her stable, waiting to be turned out! – but partly because when I have a lot of thoughts, they just need to get streamed out. Logic goes!

So anyway, my point of this blurb is about addressing issues in my own blog, as well as the effect other blogs have had on me, both positive and negative. Here I go!

First and foremost – I want to say that my experience of the blog world has been nothing but positive and supportive. During a very dark time in my life, blogs inspired me to get healthy and enjoy food again, and I am forever grateful. I also learnt how to fuel for exercise and how to have rest days, amongst so much else. I’m aware that some blogs may be a trigger to some people, (to restrict or over exercise) – although they weren’t for me [ironically, if there was any negative media influence in my ED, it was magazines] – so I urge you, if they are – DO NOT READ THEM. Yes, bloggers have a responsibility. But so do readers. If reading a blog makes you want to restrict/binge/overexercise, then stop reading it. If you don’t agree with what you see, leave.

ANYWAY!

1) Fiiiirstly – has the blog world influenced me? There’s been suggestions that me/readers/bloggers choose to run or to run races or marathons because we feel pressured to, so I thought I’d share my experience. I began running in early 2009. I began blog reading in summer 2009. By that time, I’d already signed up for a half marathon – but as I hadn’t a clue about training or running nutrition, I got injured and had to pull out. Blog reading helped me get back into it – I’d been scared of starting again, after my injury, but reading about fellow runners made me desperately want to get back out there. Not long after, I signed up for another half marathon, and did that one, and two more. I felt no pressure whatsoever in doing these, they were my own choice (the next point looks at why I ran those races, why I’m running the marathon and so on). There is no denying that Caitlin, Meghann and co inspired me to enter a full marathon, because they made something which I had always seen as purely an Olympic runner thing, seem possible to mere mortals – but to me, that is no different from multiple gold medallist Anky Van Grunsven inspiring me to be a better dressage rider (I used to watch her tests the night before my own competitions).

There is a lesser known reason why I’ve signed up for my marathon too; as a celebration of me. 2 1/2 years ago, I was almost dead. I was forbidden from any exercise. The fact that i have come so far and am able to do so much now is an amazing thing! I wanted to celebrate my new love for running, my new strength, my new confidence – so I decided to enter a marathon! It’s almost like a final nail in the coffin to the dreaded ED – like a ‘haha SCREW you ED – look at me now!!’ kinda thing.

2) I am competitive. Very much so! I’m one of those people where, if I decide to do something, I want to ruddy well do it competitively! I used to be a club swimmer, and I would compete in their championships (through choice – not because I was forced into it). I also was a very competitive endurance rider (in just 2years, I was ranked nationally). I was a very competitive dressage rider (I did countless competitions and went to three regional championships). I’m now a competitive runner, which includes races and half marathons and a desire to be the best I can – again, I have chosen this path – not because Meghann does (heck, if I did what every blogger did, I’d be doing triathlons and swimming and be running barefoot and brewing my own beer – but I don’t want to!).

These things are/were my passions. But the thing with me is..when I get passionate about something, I get reaaally passionate about it, and it means the world to me. When I get stressed in life, I bottle it up – the emotions I feel then come out in my passions. When I was under heavy exam stress, I used to cry and get very upset if things weren’t 100% when I was riding, or swimming, and I’d end up in floods of tears. The same thing happened this past few weeks with my running – issues (which I have not spoken about on the blog, as they are unrelated to eating or exercise) have been stressing me out and upsetting me recently, so of course, when I ran my emotions came out. This was not because I hated running or felt pressured into doing it – quite the opposite! I love running, and so as soon as a tiny tiny little thing went wrong, my pent up frustration and sadness poured out and escalated. I get upset with things I care about. That’s just me!

3) A comment yesterday implied that I went to the Healthy Living Summit purely to fit in with a ‘clique‘. I found this unture and very hurtful. I went to the HLS for a number of reasons; I wanted to meet the friends I’ve made through the blogging world. I wanted to meet some of the women that have helped me through tough times in my life, and taught me that food is to b enjoyed, not feared. I wanted to be brave, and conquer my own fears (about going off and doing something by myself). I also wanted to go to Chicago. I have a love affair with America, you see…even when I was a wee Tweenager, I loved America – I even had a print out of the American flag on my bedroom wall, with a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger saying about how much he loved the USA!

Back in 2007 (pre ED), I had the opportunity to go the USA with my best friend for 2 weeks. I had the absolute time of my life there, and I can honestly say that it was one of the happiest 2 weeks of my entire existence. I dreamed of going back, but I had no reason to – no friends or family there, and no-one to go on holiday with. When the HLS opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance! An excuse to go back, AND to meet my friends!? Awesome!! It was THE best weekend of my life. I found people who were like me – who liked cooking, who liked running, who had the same hobbies and interests <- there is no-one in England like this. I have no vegan friends (I don’t even have vegetarian friends!). I know no-one who likes running. My best friend goes to uni 6hrs away and I rarely see her. Therefore it was fabulous to meet people with similar interests, and I felt so welcome and happy! Just as the first time I went to America was fabulous – heck, I stayed on a horse farm!! It’s my dream to live in America you know – I’ve even applied for work experience over there, and looked into grad school. The HLS was not just me flitting about to be with ‘the cool kids’.

4) Veganism. Was this due to the desire to ‘fit in’ with the blog world? Far from it! (a quick note – the vast majority of blogs I read are NOT vegan.) Did the blog world effect my decision? Possibly. I’ve been aware of veganism for years, and it’s something that has crossed my mind from time to time. I always used to think I could never do it (I didn’t know how vegans got protein, I didn’t know what tofu was, I thought all they ate was leaves, I felt I couldn’t afford it etc etc), but the ethical concern had always been there with me. However, after reading certain blogs, I began to realise that these amazing meals they were making were actually vegan, and they weren’t expensive or weird. I decided to look into what actually went in a vegan diet. I did internet research for months, I bought a number of books on the topic, I read blogs – and after months of research, I decided to take the plunge. This was not because I wanted to be like a blogger – the issue was there pre-blog – it was because I CHOSE to; me, free choice. I said right from the beginning that if I became unhealthy on a vegan diet, I’d stop. However, i have never been happier or healthier than I have being a vegan! (another quick side note – veganism is not ‘cutting out food groups’ – I still have perfect amounts of protein, fat, carb etc etc; I just choose not to have them from animal sources). It is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

5) My blog as a whole – my blog is not like Kath’s or Caitlin’s or Tina’s. My blog is my own. It’s a record of my own personal journey, as I learn who I am and what I stand for. I’ve come a long way since I started it, and no doubt I (and the blog) will keep changing. I know some people may find it triggering to see exactly what one person eats, every single day, but let me say this: I don’t blog about everything I eat. I don’t often post about dinners or desserts (a nightly occurrence!), or the amount of times I stick my fingers in my PB jar, or the brazil nuts, or the random almonds while I cook, the random handfuls of cereal..there’s a lot that isn’t shown. I think this is good – I don’t want to photograph everything I eat! I like to keep a record of my meals, purely cos it’s great to look back and think ‘oohh, yes I’d forgotten about xyz, must have that again!’. But I’m not obsessive about it – my photography of meals takes about 30seconds, and consists of ‘put plate on mat. Click. Eat’. If I like a meal a lot, I might take more photos – cos I like taking photos! Of cats, of dogs, of food, of horses…I like photos.

I also probably have some weird habits on my blog too. I cut my veggies up small – why? Cos they cook quicker in the oven, and I lack the patience to wait 1/2 an hour. I eat a lot of the same meals. Why? Cos they taste nice, and I’m a creature of habit. I used to eat Weetabix for breakfast every morning. I then went through a phase of only eating garlic cabbage. The next phase included chicken every night. Again, that’s just how I am! Here is where blogs are a help – they encourage me to branch out sometimes, and try new flavours. Maple/mustard/balsamic sauce? Never would’ve thought of it if it weren’t for blogs! Lentils? Blerhg, til I saw them on a blog and tried them. They’re one of my favourite foods now! Peanut butter? I just assumed I hated it, because I did when I was little. How wrong I was….

6) Do healthy living blogs fuel food obsessions? Are bloggers obsessed with food? Maybe. But then, so is Jamie Oliver, or Gordon Ramsey, or Nigella Lawson. Some people are obsessed with gaming, with books, with archery. Each to their own! I’m obsessed with food, and not afraid to admit it. But my obsession has positive impacts on my life, not negative. I feel good, I look healthy, I feel strong and energised, my hair is thick and glossy, my skin is more clear than it’s ever been…all down to my healthy living. And I love it! I’m proud of my obsession 🙂

7) Workouts – many people have been accusing some bloggers of overexercising – all I can say is this: it’s all relative. If my mum ran 1/2mile, she’d be puffed and would feel like she’d done 2 days’ worth of workouts. If I ran 1/2 mile, I’d finish it then ask where the next 7.5miles were, because I’m fitter than her. If Chika was worked in the school for 40mins, she’d start to puff. If Tig (Hannah’s horse) was worked in the school for 40mins, he wouldn’t break a sweat. Everyone is different.

8) There are a gazillion points on the actual Marie Claire article, written in the comments sections of ‘The Big Six’ which I urge you to check out – I would write them, but I seem to have written a textbook anyway, so I won’t 😛

9) Finally, I’ll say it again – my blog is my own. I choose to share certain feelings and events, and I choose to not share some too. What readers see is but a small glimpse of my life, far from the bigger picture. I’m aware my blog is far from perfect, and that I am far from perfect too. But I’m doing the best that I can, for me, right now. I’m learning. It’s a continuous upward curve, with the odd mistake (we all get the wrong answers in tests sometimes!), but I am in the process of changing as a person, which is what this blog is about. I’m also a person with real feelings. I’m not as a resilient as some bloggers, so please – if you make a comment, try to be nice. I welcome all opinions, and constructive critcism – but blatant attacks on me or my personality are upsetting. Of course, that last point applies to about 0.00001% of my readers – most of whom are the most wonderful, supportive people I’ve ever known. But just be aware of it 🙂

Ok – that’s enough from me! If you managed to read all of that, send me your address and expect a gold star in the mail very soon 😀

Have a great evening 🙂

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Looking Back

Hey guys! This is a post from beyond the grave….well, kind of. I’m not dead, I’m actually in London at the moment, buying new running shoes, hopefully seeing my sister if there’s time, and visiting Whole Foods for a last trip before uni starts (alas). Sooo this is a slightly different post!

 

The past few days, I’ve been reading back through all my past posts, right from the very beginning – meaning back when I blogged as Food Fitness and Freya. It made me realise just how much I’ve changed in the past 9months! Here’s what I was like at the start of my blog:

– I ran every. single. day. Without fail. Through pain. If I did an 8.20min mile, it was slow. Heck, I even did a 7.03 mile! And I ran whatever the weather – snow, wind, rain, ice…

– I ate oatmeal for breakfast!! (This will actually commence again soon – I’m just waiting for the sehr kalt weather :p)

– I didn’t eat enough! (Smaller portions of carbs most notably)

– I blogged twice a day.

– I’m now vegan, and have never looked or felt better.

– Far less photos, and the ones that were there were fuzztastic!

– The kittens were but tiny balls of fluff! (Ok, that’s not me changing, but still)

Basically – I would say when I started this blog, I was still feeling some ED constraints. One early post talks about how much I badly wanted a day off from running as I hadn’t had one in weeks and weeks. The day I did was A Big Deal. Now, I wouldn’t even think of running 7 days a week!! 4 is adequate thank you very much!!

I also think in general, my attitude towards food is different – Above all, I’m more relaxed around the stuff, meals and meal times. But also, seeing each picture reminded me of each meal and of the feelings that went with each one, and I know I have come a long way since then. I’d say it’s really only the past 3 or 4 months when I have truly felt free from ana shackles, and it’s a great feeling! Though I wonder if in 6months, I’ll look back on me now, and have a different opinion?

Weirdly, my mum said to me the other night that she thinks I’ve changed recently too – I’ve become more independent and confident. Reaching my goal weight helped enormously – I no longer HAVE to snack at a certain time, or HAVE to have my meals at certain times. I can listen to hunger cues! The Healthy Living Summit also had an incredible effect on me, which I talk about here.

It’s exciting to think how much I’ve changed as a person in such a short period of time! I really do wonder who I’ll be this time next year….

 

One particular post I came across was interesting though! I made a list on the 10th January of 10 things I wanted to do in 2010:

1) To run a half marathon (in under 2hours? That bit is optional..). This goal should be ticked off my the end of March!! Make that THREE half marathons, all in under 2hrs!

2) Put on 14 pounds, and continue to get healthier, have a healthier attitude, enjoy food, cook…continue as I am and MORE!I don’t discuss my weight (anymore!), but IMHO, I’ve achieved this goal 🙂

3) Do well in my exams in the summer. I HOPE!! I got a first 😀

5) Get a part time job over the summer – I already know where I want to work Although I didn’t end up working where I planned to, I did get a part time job.

6) Enter/make proper plans for a full marathon (I’m so inspired! This post (http://graduatemeghann.com/2010/01/10/its-race-day/) really made me so much more keen. I love this girl and her attitude!). But this will not happen til I’ve achieved goal 2 – I can’t run 26miles without reserves, so this is brill motivation for it. Hello, Marine Corps, Oct 31st 2010, Washington DC….!!

7) Do something unexpected – ie something I’ve never done before. My mum did a parachute jump once, she started pole dancing last year…I want to try something different! I reckon going to the Chicago Healthy Living Summit was quite unexpected!

8 ) Make more effort to meet up with my best friends. It’s so hard when everyone is opposite ends of the country with uni!! I was hoping to see them all so much more over Christmas..and then SNOW happened!! grr. I’ve seen more of my friends over the summer than I did over that particular Christmas I was referring to 🙂

9) Do some endurance rides with Chika – with my first proper horse, I did loads of endurance/long distance riding (over 650 miles competitvely in 2 seasons! We even got placed nationally in the Junior rankings  ) before switching to dressage, but it’d be nice to do some more. Nothing major, just for fun – but I know Chika would love it. I haven’t done any endurance rides on her..I doubt I’ll get the chance before the year is up. They always fall on weekends, which is when my mum works, I have long runs, and Hannah competes! I can roll this goal over to next year instead!

10) Not fight with my sister so much! It seems minor..but over Christmas, we made a big effort to not fight, and it worked! It was actually lovely to just enjoy having a sister, we were behaving like really good friends – so refreshing! It would be amazebugs to keep that up  Plus, she’s off on her gap year the end of this year, so I suppose I want to make the most of her before she goes. We’ve fought much less! I *think* we like each other more now 🙂

So there you have it! I’m pretty pleased with how much I’ve accomplished 😀 I can’t wait to write another of these lists in the next new year 😀

Oh, and plus – I think this proves that old saying – if you write a dream down, it’s more likely to come true. My list is proof! So with that set in mind, I’m going to make a Vision Board a la Angela, all about America – tickets and photos from the HLS, a few dollar bills..that kinda thing 🙂

I want my American dream to come true!

Question – Do you think you’ve changed in the past year or so? How?

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Vintage Food, Fitness and Freya photos 😛 And – my very first post!

(I remember the above meal – 25g of cereal as my lunch carb portion? Not enough!!)

Kovac…he’s grown into such a beautiful boy 🙂

Stuffed pasta!!!!! My oldest and wisest readers will remember my slight obsession with the stuff :p

My first ‘pretty’ bowl of oats :p

HOT BANANA!!!!

2% Greek yogurt..probably the only thing I miss being vegan.

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