Podcast

Fitty & Fatty Ep. 40

https://fittyandfatty.podbean.com/e/fitty-and-fatty-s2-ep40-the-health-at-every-size-movement/

This week we take a look into the Health at Every Size Movement, we discuss the Nike controversy and tap into body acceptance.  Thanks for listening xxx

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Podcast

Fitty & Fatty Ep. 39

Fitty and Fatty S2 Ep.39 – Language of Food Guilt and the Importance of Routine

This week on the podcast, Fitty talks about the language of food guilt, while Fatty reminds us of the importance of routine.

Thanks for listening xxx

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Articles

Feminism is Not a Dirty Word

For the longest time, I resisted identifying as a feminist.  I felt it was almost a dirty word.  The label seemed to suggest an instigator, a trouble maker, a boat rocker.  None of which I wanted to be known as.  Besides, who was I, in all of my educated, white privilege to bemoan my lot in life?  How dare I cry bias, when I was afforded opportunities, so many others are denied?

Growing up, a strong sense of fairness was instilled in me.  A belief in meritocracy.  When I started my career, I had no reason to doubt that if I kept my head down, I would be rewarded.  Surely effort would be recognised above all else?  Anything else defies logic.

I have come to learn that this belief is so common among women, it has been given a name.  Tiara syndrome.  Lots of women believe, as I did, that if you work hard, and keep your nose clean, good things will be bestowed upon you.  We shouldn’t need to kick and scream for what we deserve.  “Be a good girl, try a little harder,” as Alanis would say.

Furthermore, I had the idea that if I should ever speak up about gender issues, either for myself or on behalf of my female colleagues, that I would be vilified.  So, I put up far more than I should have.  When my male boss called me a “smart cookie,” I let it slide.  I played small and made nice.  Never daring to ask for the raises or vie for the promotions.

In my first ever “grown up job” I was harassed by a male colleague.  He persistently made lewd comments and behaved in a way that made me so uncomfortable, I dreaded going to work.  When I eventually plucked up the courage to complain, my request was simple.  I just didn’t want to sit within ogling distance of him.  The complaint was handled badly.  I was made to feel like it was my fault.  That I had encouraged him, or that I should have just kept quiet.  I was only 21 when this happened and it was an early lesson that speaking up won’t get you anywhere.

Over the last few months, I have spent a lot of time reading and listening to audio books.  Two titles that have made me re-evaluate my stance on feminism are “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg and “That’s What She Said” by Joanne Lipman.  Both of these excellent books tackle the thorny issue of gender equality, and it is important to note, neither bash men.

Working my way through these books the seed of an idea began to take hold in my mind.  Equal does not have to mean the same.  We can accept that there are differences between the sexes, and still insist on fair and equal treatment.  We can begin to see these differences as complimentary rather than contrary.

Both authors also converge on the idea that in order to close the gender gap, we need men.  Women cannot go it alone.  Without the advocacy of men, we are on a road to nowhere.  We women are in a double bind.  By not speaking up, we get nowhere.  But when we do speak up, we risk reciprocity.  It kind of reminds me of the movies when the sane person is accused of being crazy.  Anything that he says or does to prove his sanity after that, only serves to make him look crazier.

It is an awkward dichotomy for me personally.  I want to play with the big boys, but I don’t want to be there simply to make up the numbers.  This issue came up recently, when there was a social media kick back about a nutrition conference.  Of the panel of ten speakers, only one was female.  This incited a lot of backlash in the community, with several people threatening to boycott the event.

My feelings about this were really complicated.  I must admit that when I initially saw the promotional posters, I failed to notice the male to female ratio.  I have been telling myself that it’s a non-issue for so long, I have become blind to it.  When I started to become aware of the outrage it had caused my reaction was “who cares whether the speakers are male or female?”  I want to listen to the most qualified and influential people in the industry.  It matters not a jot whether they are men or women.

However, my thinking was fundamentally flawed.  My argument would only be valid if speaking opportunities were awarded on merit alone.  The level of heterogeneity among the panel would suggest this is not the case.  Apart from the single white female speaker, the rest of the panel is made up of white men.  It would seem statistically unlikely that the best and the brightest in the field, all fall into this category.

This situation is not unique.  From orchestras to operating theatres, women continue to be under represented.  I am the first to admit I don’t know what the answer is to gender inequality, but burying my head in the sand and pretending it’s not my problem, certainly isn’t going to help.  I once heard someone say “if you’re not an activist, you’re an in-activist.”  Every time we see inequality and ignore it, we widen the gap.  I know I have been guilty of this in the past and I want to apologise to the next generation of women for failing to forge a path for them.  I will do better.   Be well xxx

Podcast

Fitty & Fatty Ep. 38

Fitty and Fatty kick off Season 2 with a conversation about Ketogenic diets. Fatty also has tips for living well into old age. Thanks for listening xxx

Https://fittyandfatty.podbean.com/e/fitty-and-fatty-s2-ep38-ketogenic-diet-and-how-to-age-well/

Our challenges for June are 10k steps per day and trying to consciously reduce excess spending.

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Articles

You’re a Liar!

Did you ever have a day when you just feel bleuch?  You look in the mirror and you don’t like how your clothes fit, how your hair is sitting or basically anything about your appearance?  I am willing to bet you have.  Even people who have sky high confidence and positive body image can have these sorts of speed wobbles.

Last week, I experienced this very thing.  It was the Tuesday after the Easter weekend.  Between having a bit too much to each and drink over the bank holiday and having missed a couple of weeks of training due to illness, I just felt like a whale blob.

I looked in the mirror getting ready for work and struggled to find one thing I was happy with.  Panic started to set in.  It was a little over three weeks until I would be setting off on a sun holiday.  You know what that means.  Bikinis (or any swimwear,) shorts, little dresses etc. etc.  How could I feel happy and confident baring all, when even my office attire wasn’t doing the job?

Realistically I knew that even the most extreme diet and training program wasn’t going to bring about any sort of “transformation” in such a short period of time.  But this was no time for realism, I was spiraling.  Instead of looking forward to the holiday that has been booked for almost a year, and that I have saved for, I began to dread it.

I started to berate myself.  Why hadn’t I tried harder to lose weight?  Why hadn’t I cut out alcohol, tracked calories and done all the myriad other things which I know would have helped me look slim and slinky on the beach?  Why, why, why!  By the time I was driving home from work that evening, I was that upset, I was ready to cancel the whole thing!

But then, some little things happened.  I went to teach my Zumba class and I had a few minutes alone before the ladies got there.  Time enough for me to practice some gymnastic movements I have been struggling with.  Weirdly, they felt easier than usual.  Then I did my 50 burpees that were part of my April challenge.  By the time the girls arrived, I was glowing and energized.  The class was awesome, and when I got home that night I felt a renewed sense of positivity about my body.  Maybe my body didn’t look the way I wanted it to, but damn, it could do some pretty amazing things.

These little dominoes continued to fall as the week progressed.  I got back into the gym and felt more and more like myself each day.  I even tried, and loved indoor rock climbing.  Truly terrifying for someone who isn’t a fan of heights!  Towards the end of the week I was getting dressed in front of the same mirror.  The girl reflected in the glass hadn’t changed, but how I felt about her had started to.

The thing is, how we see ourselves is never objective.  It is coloured by every single thing going on in our world.  When we are down because we have been sick, or haven’t slept well, we project that negativity on to the image before us.  The opposite is also true.  When we feel happy and confident, we find it easier to see something we like in the image before us.  In short, we lie!

I have struggled with body image for as long as I can remember.  It’s not as much of an issue as it once was for me, but the little gremlins are still there.  Lying in wait.  Sensing the perfect opportunity, when my defenses are down, to slink out of the shadows and undermine me.  Theirs are the voices who say “you’re too fat for the beach,” or “you should have lost 20lbs by now.”

I may never be able to silence these monsters completely.  However, each workout I do, healthy meal I eat, relationship I nurture helps keep them at bay.  Every hour I spend in my therapist’s comfy armchair, puts another layer of sound proofing between them and me.  My body is so much more than how it looks, and so is yours.

Any of you who regularly read this blog will know that the last 12 months have been tumultuous to say the least.  When I take a step back and think about it, I feel should congratulate myself for doing as well as I have in the circumstances.   Even though, I will admit it feels extremely uncomfortable to write that.

The first part of 2019 for me has been a season of preparation.  I have been getting to grips with a new and challenging job.  Getting used to commuting again, which I hadn’t been doing for 3 years.  Perhaps most importantly I have been putting a lot of work into my mental health.  If, as the song says, there is a time to reap and a time to sow, perhaps this has been a time of tilling the earth.  Doing the heavy lifting so that what gets planted in the coming seasons has a chance to bloom.

Truthfully, I do wish I was a bit closer to my fighting weight heading away, but there’s no point in crying over it now.  If I keep beating myself up over not reaching some arbitrary weight, it will only serve to make me miserable and ruin my holiday.

This holiday will come and go, but my overall health goals will remain.  A week in the sunshine, relaxing and reflecting will serve to help me focus on my return.  I think we sometimes look at holidays and events as finish lines.  We can think to ourselves “I didn’t reach my goal by that deadline, so there’s no point to keep going.”  More lies.

A good friend of mine talks a lot about peaks and valleys.  Often it is only in hindsight that we gain the perspective to tell the difference between the two.  With my training and nutrition this year it has been very much 1 step forward and 2 steps back.  But imagine where I would be if I hadn’t kept at least trying to move forward.

I look forward seeing what the next season will bring.  I hope that it will be a period of calm which will allow me to get dial things in.  However, if it doesn’t pan out that way, I will roll with the punches.  If the past while has taught me anything it is that I am more resilient than I once thought!  Be well xxx

 

 

Podcast

Fitty & Fatty Ep. 34

Fitty and Fatty Ep.34 – Gratitude and the HPV Vaccine

April 29, 2019

In this weeks episode Fitty discusses the importance of gratitude for our everyday lives while Fatty talks about the HPC vaccine.

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Podcast

Fitty & Fatty Ep. 33

https://fittyandfatty.podbean.com/e/fitty-and-fatty-ep33-momspos-and-breastfeeding/

n this weeks episode Fitty talks about mothers on social media who preach about their miraculous methods and whether or not they are effective, while Fatty talks to us about her experience so far as a new mother and the area of breastfeeding.

Check out Hazelnut Box and use code (Fitty&Fatty25) at checkout for 25% off your first box

https://www.hazelnutbox.com/

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Podcast

Fitty & Fatty Ep. 32

This week Fitty sits down with Grainne Parker

https://fittyandfatty.podbean.com/e/fitty-and-fatty-ep32-a-sit-down-with-grainne-parker/

Grainne is a qualified Health & Wellness Coach and Stress Management Practitioner with The Institute of Health Sciences.

She guest lectures for the Institute of Health Sciences.

She has trained in the essential aspects of lifestyle medicine including sleep, good food, exercise and stress management for metabolic disorder, resilience, work life balance and has given many talks and lectures on managing all aspects of these to lead a happy and health life.

She has completed the Harvard Medical School, Lifestyle Medicine, tools for promoting healthy change course.

She is a qualified Heartmath coach – a tool for stress management and resilience building.

She also has a huge passion for food and completed the 3-month professional Cookery Course at Dublin Cookery School. She coaches clients on how to make more healthy choices and her recipe website is a great resource for anyone on a health and fitness journey who needs easy and delicious recipes for all the family

She also coaches junior athletics in her spare time.

She is a co-author of Move Train Nourish

Articles

Can You See Me Now?

“As a child, which parent did you crave love from the most, your mother or your father?”  Easy.  My Father, 100%.  “What did you have to be to get that love?”  I had to be exceptional.  Anyone who has seen Tony Robbins documentary “I am Not Your Guru” will recognise these questions.

I am painfully aware of how much I craved my daddy’s love as a child, and indeed as an adult.  However, it has taken a lot of soul searching and a good smattering of therapy to get to the truth of how deeply this has affected me.  Before I continue, I want to clear something up.  I know my father loves me on an intellectual level.  However, this is not the same thing as feeling it.  Neither is it a substitute for feeling seen or heard.  Recognised or acknowledged.  I ask for your love and patience gentle reader as I attempt to shine a light on my truth as I have come to know it.

In The Beginning:

My parents met as teenagers, and they loved each other in the way you only can when you are that age.  Passionately and irrationally, in very much an “us against the world,” kind of way.  They were still impossibly young when they had me and three years later, my sister.

By the time my mother was 21 she found herself married and raising two children in a country which was in the grips of a recession.  To this day I am in awe of how good a job she did keeping us alive.  We were fed and clothed.  Our mother kept us insulated as best she could.  She was determined to prove that despite her tender years, she could be a great mother, and she was.  She still is.

There wasn’t a huge amount of time for cuddles and kisses in her life.  Having not grown up with them herself, they seemed unimportant.  Dad was different.  He was definitely a hugger, and so, although he probably spent one tenth of the time with us that mom did, it was his lap I coveted.

Achievement, especially academic, was highly praised.  I remember to this day how my father would boast about how his daughter (me) could read the Irish Times by age three.  You would swear I was publishing the thing myself the way he went on about it.  I learned from an early age that excellence would be rewarded.  If I could bring home first the gold stars and later the As, I would (maybe) receive the cherished hugs and praise I so desperately needed.

I learned at age 37, how much this desire for recognition, this need to be seen, has shaped my life.

The Good:

In Tony’s documentary he says that we can’t blame the past for the bad things, without also thanking it for the good.  So here goes.

For most of my school life I was an over achiever.  I loved to be praised and commended.  If there was an award to be had or a prize up for grabs I wanted it.  In fact, during the time of greatest disruption in my life, the year we spent living in California, I was awarded with the President’s Award for Academic Excellence.  Fancy huh?

This continued on into my working life.  From my first job in a newsagents to this very day.  I always wanted to excel.  It didn’t matter how high or low the stakes were, I was compelled to win.  I remember my McDonald’s days.  On busy Saturdays the managers, who were just a few years older than I was, would run competitions.  They would challenge us to see who could serve the most customers in an hour.  The prize was usually a chocolate bar.

Of course, I knew this was an irrelevant honour.  I was pretty sure we were being manipulated into trying to clear the queues faster, but I didn’t care.  I had to win.  Every week there would be a similar competition.  Each time I would do my damnedest to take home the chocolate.

As the years passed, chocolate bars were replaced with employee of the month plaques and promotions.   My competitive edge continued to be sharpened.  Recognition was a drug to me.  Without this addiction, I doubt I would have continued to claw my way up the career ladder.  The dopamine hits fueled my ambition.

The Bad:

The downside of wanting to be brilliant at everything you do, is that you get disappointed a lot.  There are many things I have attempted and promptly found out I suck at.  This is, of course, normal.  Very few people are naturally gifted at even one thing, let alone everything they try!

The problem with me is, I don’t have the patience for learning.  I want to go directly to Mayfair.  If I can collect £200 on my way, even better.  Seriously?  What do you mean I have to practice for hours and hours just so I can play Twinkle Twinkle.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  Nobody will celebrate that achievement, not even me.  I will still be in withdrawals.

This has lead to me developing a very bad habit.  I drop things which I don’t immediately perfect.  Which, let’s face it, is most things.  As a child I begged my mother to enroll me in activities.  She would sign me up, pay the fees and buy the accouterments.  Only for me to quit as soon as I realised I wasn’t going to be the best.

As I have gotten older, I have become a little better at sticking with things.  After all, I can’t exactly up and quit every job just because I haven’t mastered it on day one.  It is still struggle though.  I still want to be perfect every time.  I hate failing, finishing last and God forbid having to ask for help.  That dopamine rush still hits me anytime my coach high fives me, or my boss says good job.

The Ugly:

Here we are at the part of the story I really didn’t want to write.  This is the part which makes me experience hot shame when I think of it.  That only means it is the part that most needs to be told.

I cannot deal with being ignored or given the silent treatment.  For most of my life I have only felt I existed when I was being seen by other people.  This has caused me to act in ways that I am not proud of.  It has caused me to allow people to treat me badly.

When I was a teenager, I had a group of girlfriends.  All the other girls seemed to constantly be in relationships.  Although I dated a lot, I always ended up single.  I was desperate to have a boyfriend.  I wanted someone special in my life.  Someone to truly see me.  I suffered many humiliations during those years.  I attempted to make myself as appealing as possible.  Tried to be “low maintenance.”  Not asking for too much.  I am sure that I am not unique in this.  Many young women (and men) have probably had similar experiences.

One of the most crushing examples of this came in my first year of college.  I was attending a City Centre college and there were always social events being organised.  One such event was a traffic light ball.  The idea behind it is that each attendee wears a coloured badge.  Green if you are single any ready to mingle.  Orange if you’re open to meeting someone.  Red if you’re not looking.  Needless to say I was GREEN!!

The night was drawing to a close and I was yet to hook up with anyone.  Disconsolate, I sidled up to the bar to order myself another Smirnoff Ice.  To my complete shock, the barman started chatting to me.  His name was Tony.  He was absolutely gorgeous.  Totally out of my league.  At the end of the night he asked for my number and of course I gave it to him.  He called soon after and we began dating.

Tony seemed so cosmopolitan.  Not only was he working in a nightclub, but he was living in an apartment in town.  I was quickly besotted.  We had been out a few times when we met one day for lunch.  After the meal we went back to the apartment he shared with a few people.  (If memory serves, there were about 6 of them living in a one bedroom flat, maybe not so glamourous after all.)  We spent the afternoon kissing on his bed.  I was in heaven.  I felt like one of the Sex in The City girls.

His roommates began to trickle home and he introduced me to them.   Then said he needed to go get his hair cut and that I should wait in the apartment.  “Okay,” I said.  Time went by and I began to get uncomfortable with his unfriendly roommates.  About 2 hours later, his female roommate took a phone call and excused herself.  When she came back in she looked at me and said “that was Tony, he’s not coming back.  He said you should leave.”

I will never forget the way she looked at me.  “Poor cow,” was written all over her face.  I managed to get out of the flat without bursting into tears, barely.  Throughout the hour long bus journey home, I cried.  Trying to ignore the inquiring glances from strangers.

I wish I could tell you that was the end of the story.  That I managed to retain the last shreds of my dignity, but alas that was not the case.  I called him and text him incessantly.  I needed to hear him tell me why.  How could he just abandon me like that?  How could everything be great one minute and over the next?  I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  In my quest for “closure.,” I am surprised the poor guy didn’t file for a restraining order.  It was totally over the top.

Many years have passed since Tony’s haircut, but I am not much better at handling these types of situations.  Silence and withdrawal are the most painful things for me to deal with.  They feel like the ultimate betrayal.

My husband is definitely not the shouting type.  When we first started dating, we had disagreements like every couple getting to know each other.  His response was to walk away from the row, clear this head, be rational.  Mine was the total opposite.  The more silent he became, the more I raged.  I would shout, scream, throw things and ultimately do whatever it took to get a reaction.  Whatever it took to be seen.

Here and now:

If I am to be completely honest about it, this need to be seen, to be acknowledged, has been at the root of almost every action I have taken in my life.  It is what drives me to try to be successful in my career.  It is the motivation behind this blog and my podcast.  The need is also what causes me to flirt, dance on bars (literally,) chase after people who have zero interest and a whole host of other unhealthy and destructive behaviours.

For most of my life, I have been like the Emperor’s New Clothes.  Existing only through the eyes of others.  If you see me, and respond to me, no matter how negatively, I am real.  When you ignore me and overlook me, I am not.

There are many reasons I have cited as to explain why I decided to start therapy.  I wanted help with my anxiety.  I wanted to gain clarity on my purpose in life.  A little more confidence would be good.  All of these reasons are valid ones, but they are not the whole truth.

What really drove me to reach out for help, was being exhausted.  Tying so much of my self worth into other people’s opinions of me and actions towards me, was wearing me out.  I was sick of letting other people control whether I had the best day ever, or plunged into despair.  I wanted to feel like I exist, independently.

There have been so many tears.  Sometimes I feel in danger of dissolving as I try to work my way through all of this.  But slowly, I am beginning to feel like it might just be working.  Little by little I am focusing less on others.  I am less reliant on them for validation and acceptance.  As the weeks unfold, I am beginning to see myself.

It is absolutely terrifying.  At times I feel so vulnerable I could throw up.  Like a butterfly emerging from her chrysalis with still wet wings, I am desperately unsure of myself.  One thing I am sure of however, is that what I had been doing before now was not working for me.  I was harming myself in a million tiny ways.  It is time to stop that now.  Time to try something new.

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given is “if you keep doing what you’re doing, you keep getting what you’re getting.”  There is great power in those words.  If we don’t like the path we are on, we have the power to change course.  A deviation of a single degree, can have a massive impact on your destination over time.

Be well.  I see you xxx