Podcast

Fitty & Fatty Ep. 41

On this week’s episode Fitty talks about the problem with perfectionism while Fatty has some recipes for DIY beauty products.  Thanks for listening xxx

https://fittyandfatty.podbean.com/e/fitty-and-fatty-s2-ep41-positivity-and-diy-beauty-products/

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Articles

Think P!NK

Last weekend my best friend and I boarded a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Glasgow.  We were on our way to see P!NK.  We had tried and failed to get tickets for her Dublin show, so my friend’s husband treated us to tickets for the show in Scotland.

The trip was organised months ago, and I should have been eagerly anticipating it.  But, as often happens with these things, the closer it got, the more the little gremlins inside my head started piping up.  Saying things like “work is so busy right now, I can’t really afford the time off.”  Or “my house is a tip, I could really do with getting it sorted out.”

There was never a chance that I was going to cancel, but these nagging thoughts threatened to ruin the experience for me before it had even begun.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go.  It was that anxiety or apathy was trying to find an excuse for me to stay home.  Because let’s face it, that’s always the easier option!

As soon as we arrived at the airport and ordered a drink I started to relax.  All the annoying niggles began to fade away.  The weekend was a great success.  The show itself was amazing, and we had a blast for the whole weekend.  We sampled Glasgow’s gay bars and casinos.  Neither of which we had actually set out to do.  Furthermore, it reminded me of a few important things.

Something old

My travel companion has been my best friend since we were 16.  That’s not today or yesterday!  We have literally been through everything together.  From family drama to being bridesmaid at each other’s wedding.  She knows me better than I know myself at times.

In recent weeks, I had been feeling a little sad.  There wasn’t anything specific I could put this down to.  But I suspect being in therapy had made me a bit raw.  Last week in particular, I was struggling and the only way I can think of describing it is as being heart sick.  The feeling of unexplained loss and unnamed longing.

Spending 48 hours in the company of someone who knows me so well and loves me warts and all has been like a balm.  As we stood among tens of thousands of people, singing tunelessly and drinking Tennants out of plastic glasses, I began to feel like myself again.

It’s becoming obvious to me that when we are at our lowest, being around people who just get us is so important.  They don’t need to do anything or say anything, other than offer to hold your drink while you pop to the loo.  When you feel that you are barely able to recognise yourself, it helps to be reassured that you are still who you used to be.

Something new

As we waited to board our flight home yesterday evening, I was tired from two late nights, and perhaps a tiny bit too much alcohol.  But deep down I felt revived.  Being in a new city, having a change of scene and getting away from it all, had restored me.  Had we gone to the Dublin concert, it would have been the same artist, and the same show.  The effect, however, would have been different.  It would not have been a “new” experience and could not have been so uplifting.  The mind loves novelty and it thrives on it.

Also, we often underestimate how much confidence can be gained from doing something new.  Navigating a strange city and managing the logistics can make you feel very accomplished.  (Remind me to tell you about getting lost in Rome another time!)

Girls just wanna have fun

One of the reasons I am in counselling is because I am having what I am calling an “Existential Crisis.”  I am trying to figure out my purpose in life and what I want to do when I grow up.  I find myself thinking “there has to be more to life than this” on a regular basis.

This issue is exacerbated by my awareness that I am not getting any younger.  I will be 38 this year, and I can’t help feeling like it’s all getting away from me.  I am sure a lot of people go through this as they approach midlife, and it is a season that will eventually pass.

Until that happens, it is really nice to be reminded that I am still capable of having fun.  That I am not too old to try new things or to enjoy myself.  It was so lovely to see traces of my younger self alive and well.  Maybe it’s not too late?

It turns out that as much as I tried to talk myself out of this trip, it was exactly what I needed.  The next time you find yourself thinking that you can’t be bothered to do something fun, or telling yourself it’s too much hassle, ask yourself, “is this my anxiety talking?”  “Am I stuck in a rut?”  Try to figure out what exactly is making you feel that way.  If you genuinely don’t want to do the thing, that’s fine.  However, if it’s a case that avoiding adventure has become your default, challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone.

Unfortunately, when we are struggling, we are often tempted to pull away from people and avoid trying new things.  This only leads to greater feelings of isolation and boredom, which in turn breed further struggle.  It’s a vicious cycle and one that can seem impossible to get out of when you are in the middle of it.  I try to think of it is as bicycle wheel spinning.  All it takes is a small rod in the spokes to interrupt it.

Of course two nights away hasn’t solved all my problems.  I still don’t have the answers.  However, I have been given a glimpse of what lies beyond this, and the assurance that if I can keep persuading myself to put one foot in front of the other, I will eventually get there.  In short, I feel better and you can’t put a price on that.  Be well xxx

 

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.

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