TFW – Past Half Way!

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I’m now over half way into my Training for Warriors programme! Ohhh it’s so sad. I don’t wanna say that I’ve love(d) the programme – past tense, because we do still have a couple of weeks to go. But I have loved it. Up to this point it has been such a great experience. I’ve pushed myself mentally and physically.

Actually, I want to talk a bit about that. People will often tell you that mental challenges are good, and that they help you to see how far you can push yourself. Don’t get me wrong, to some extent I agree with that. There’s a lot of truth hidden behind cliche phrases, and I think the phrase, ‘there’s no growth in the comfort zone’ is insanely applicable in life. But it comes with constraints. What happens when you push yourself to your limit, and you still aren’t good enough? Let’s not be naive here, it happens. Cliche number two: ‘be comfortably uncomfortable.’ I feel like the moment of positive change is a sweet spot on a sliding scale. At one end of the scale there’s your ultimate comfort zone – I dunno, eating Chinese whilst watching Gilmore Girls or whatever your equivalent is. At the other end, there’s the zone that is so uncomfortable  that it cripples you. Somewhere in the middle, is that sweet spot where you’re a long fucking way from any prawn crackers, but you aren’t so far away that the level of discomfort is preventing you from moving forward. For me, that was getting up on a Saturday morning to run 16 miles knowing full well I’d hate every minute that took place past mile 6, and give myself hell for a poor performance for the rest of the week, so by the time next Saturday came round I’d be just ever so slightly more miserable than before, and the cycle would repeat.

TFW has so far been pretty fucking sweet spot centric. I’ve done things I didn’t even think were possible for me, but because of the environment you’re in and the supportive nature of the group, it seems much more realistic. Like, the other day we did pull ups. I definitely had help, but fucking pull ups. Who knew? A couple of weeks ago I also learned how to get on a treadmill whilst it’s already running – and I didn’t break any limbs or anything!!!

TFW  has allowed me to become part of a group of people who just want to improve themselves. We’re a pretty diverse group of people and I guess we all have different things we want to achieve from the programme. I just wanted to feel confident again. I’m not going to lie and say I’m all the way there. I’m a long way away from slaying like one of Ru Paul’s drag queens, but I do feel better about myself.

I guess this post is pretty gushy and I’m not sure it has a real point other than to update on my progress so far. I’ve not had mid way measurements done or anything. I wanted to wait until the end and see the extent of my progress. I’m not sure it will be massive because it will only have been 8 weeks, and I’ve definitely had a couple of cheat meals here and there, but still. I feel like I’m turning a corner.

It’s about time.

 

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Lucy Warrior Princess

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My first week of warrior training is officially under my belt!

At 7.30pm on Monday, instead of running through my usual week night routine of pj’s > netflix > bed, I whipped out my gym leggings and an old Paramore Fan Club tshirt. I stopped *just* short of smearing war paint on my face and and fashioning myself a tin foil shield – although I bet it would have been a great ice breaker.

Our 8 week training plan includes 3 workouts a week – Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Our group consists of about 15 people with a good mix of ages, genders, shapes, sizes, motivations. In all honesty I’m probably the heaviest in the group but bitch plz, it’s been 26 years, I’m used to it. Our coach, Toby, seems to have energy in such excessive amounts that it’s easy to soak in. On Thursday in particular I was feeling really sleepy. Within 5 minutes of stepping into the gym I was raring to go – which was handy because that session was an energy circuit, and it was hard. as. fuck. I felt like I was going to throw up at the end, which weirdly felt quite satisfying.

One of the biggest changes that’s taken place this week though, has been my eating. I don’t know if anybody else can relate to this, but for me, if I’m working out regularly, I just feel so much more motivated to eat healthily. If I’m sat on my ass doing nothing but watch TV, it’s like my mouth is a magnet for everything that would make my GP raise his eyebrows at me in judgement.

I constantly feel confused by research on nutrition. There are approximately a billion and twelve conflicting pieces of evidence on the topic, so you see my problem here. Toby posted a YouTube link in our warrior whatsapp group, which led to me watching a 25 minute video of a seminar being given by John Beradi. Beradi’s talk went into the different body types, and how each one tends to benefit from a different nutritional habits. In terms of body type, I definitely fall into Team Endomorph. I store fat stupidly easy, I’m 5’3, but have almost comically short limbs; and dammit, my hips do not lie. Beradi mentioned that endomorphs tend to benefit from a low carb, high protein/fat diet. And would you Adam and Eve it, that seems to kinda, sorta, fit in with the type of diet I followed a few years back when I lost 4.5 stone. Wonders never cease. So that’s the direction I’ve been trying to head in this week. I’ve not gone quite as low carb as perhaps I have in the past, but it’s quite a big change really. Over the last year, pasta and I have become such close friends we’re considering getting matching tattoos. So…steady as she goes and all that jazz.

I took some photos of what I’ve been eating for blog purposes, but for some reason, the camera on my iphone seems to have depleted in quality. Which is v. convenient timing, given that the iphone 7 info was released this week. I see you Apple, and your conspiring ways *shifty eyes*.

For breakfasts I’ve been tending to stick with half of a small avocado, a piece of toast and eggs of some sort. Nothing particularly to write home about. The thing is though, I always find that the problem with being an early riser is this: I’ll eat breakfast at 06:30, and by the time I’ve settled into work, it’s 09:30 and I’m ravenous again. And my God, I swear if the world wanted to test my will power, they chose the right week to do it. This week at work, our office has had several people return from their holidays with sweets and biscuits to share round, and our office manager brought in a tray of doughnuts and 3 bags of cookies. It’s amazing how a kind and generous gesture can occasionally make you want to sew your own lips together. Normally, by 10am I’d be one doughnut down and looking forward to lunch, but not this week. This week, I am a warrior. This week, I gritted my teeth, and ate a tub of mixed berries that I’d thankfully had the foresight to pack for myself. Like…berries are alright, but they aren’t doughnuts are they?

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For lunch I’ve been buying Aldi’s prepacked salads. Not the ones that come laden with chicken and bacon in a mayonnaise that is so unhealthy you might as well just eat a stick of butter and be done with it. These are the ones you find near the lettuce. They come in a little plastic box, in either Mediterranean style, or British garden. The fact that they’re individually packed suits me, because in our house, if I tried to get Andy to eat a salad for lunch he’d probably pack his bags and move out, and buying full portions of everything just leads to waste. So instead of living the Bridget Jones singleton life, I take these and then at work I’ll  add in either a tin of tuna, chicken breast or some mini mozzarella balls and sometimes a bit of avocado if there was any leftover at breakfast. I’ve got a bottle of balsamic dressing on my desk so it’s not quite as depressing as it could be. The cleaners must think I’m a right fruitcake.

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Dinners have been where I’ve been having my main carb intake. I might try and amend this a bit as my training goes on, but this week I’ve had fairly standard meals – nothing that will inspire the gourmet chefs among the blogosphere. Grilled turkey burger with home made sweet potato fries, a mushroom omelette with baked beans and a garlicky tomato pasta with lean minced beef, spinach and peas were a few of my dinners this week.

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And then Saturday. The cheat meal. On Saturday night, if you’d been a fly on the wall in my kitchen you’d have never seen someone so overjoyed to be making a curry. Saturday night tea was an awesome Thai Green chicken curry with mange tout, baby corn, mushrooms, noodles and prawn crackers, followed by a very naughty piece of cheesecake. The thing is, yes it’s not a perfect thing to include in any diet plan, but now I’ve had that treat I do feel motivated to eat well for the rest of the week now.

Happy days.

 

Weirdo Quinoa – Recipe

brunch, cooking, dinner, Life, lifestyle, recipes, salads, weight loss, weightloss

So quinoa is weird, isn’t it? Yep. That’s my opening line and I’m sticking with it.

Much like cous cous, I find quinoa tastes like actual granulated cardboard if you don’t do something cool with it. I think that’s the reason a lot of people think they don’t like it. This recipe is different though. (Why does my recipe now sound like its two Malibu and cokes away from telling you it isn’t like other girls?) Try it – if you don’t like it, you can slap me in the face should you ever happen to see me out and about. (Pre-warning – please tell me the slap is as a result of this blog post, just so I know I’ve not accidentally offended somebody. Again.)

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The Mighty Weirdo: Quinoa – this is what you’re shooting for when you cook quinoa, fyi.

This recipe is great for a couple of different reasons. First of all, it’s delicious, so…yeah, always a bonus. Second of all, it pretty much covers all of your food groups. You’ve got your protein in the beans and quinoa, you’ve got veggies, you’ve got starch, you’ve got a little bit of the commonly known food group – nummies, in the feta. It’s an all-round winner.

And for even more bonus points, it’s vegetarian, and can easily be made vegan if you omit the feta. ***Yayyyy for knowing that some of your food choices haven’t contributed to the pain and suffering of innocent animals and are also v fashionable right now.***

People often seem to be in one of two camps about veganism – either the gung ho, ‘you will vegan or else you are dead to me’ camp, or the ‘*rolls eyes* but humans are carnivores’ camp. I’m neither. I like vegan food, I feel better when I eat vegan, I see and agree with all the ethical arguments; but being raised as meat eater for the majority of my life does make it very hard to make the commitment full time. And yes, I know that makes me a pussy. Baby steps.

This recipe is also good for making a big batch, then putting it in the fridge to use for packed lunches. If you’re one of those people who struggle for inspiration in that department, this might be a nice departure from the land of ham and cheese sandwiches and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps.

Anyway! Sales pitch over!

Here’s what you’re gonna need:

  • Quinoa – 2 cups (dry)
  • Water – 3 cups
  • Sweetcorn 
  • Black beans 
  • Feta
  • 1 punnet plum or cherry tomatoes chopped in half
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped v finely
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped v small
  • 1 green pepper chopped into small squares
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Coriander – small bunch
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Here’s how this is gonna go down.

Start by chopping up your pepper, tomatoes, garlic, onion and jalapeno. Transfer to a mixing bowl. I just find it’s easier and somehow ends up creating less mess if I get all the chopping done first.

If you’re using canned black beans, whip those out at this point and give them a rinse in a sieve before adding those to the veggies, along with the sweet corn and feta. Give it all a jumble together. If you’re anything like me, at this point you’ll be taking a second to admire the pretty colours. This step is optional, and entirely dependent on how much of a hippy you feel like being on that particular day.

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Can you paint with all the colours of the mountains? Can you paint with all the colours, of the veg? (Guess I left out the black beans)

Next is the quinoa. You’ll need to rinse this before you cook it so that it doesn’t taste bitter. Put it in a sieve, under running water. I’m never 100% sure why, but for some reason, it seems to produce little bubbles which then go away when it’s rinsed. Oooooh bubbles.

Then you want to boil your water in a sauce pan, add your quinoa, pop a lid on top of the sauce pan, reduce the heat and simmer away for about 10-15 minutes until your quinoa is soft, fluffy and has absorbed all the water. Separate the quinoa with a fork and set aside to cool down a bit, whilst you make the dressing.

I prefer making the dressing in the nutribullet, because I am a lazy, millennial so and so. If you don’t have a nutribullet, or a blender, you can still make the dressing – just use a sharp knife to chop up your coriander and give it all a mix in a bowl – simples. As it stands, I just pop everything into the nutribullet, whiz away for about 30 seconds, and there you have it.

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Looks like mould, is actually delicious dressing.

Your final step is to mix the cooled quinoa into the veggies, stir in your dressing and then try not to eat the whole bowl in one sitting. Also – try serving this with nachos and using this as the ‘dip’. So. Damn. Good.

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Oh mama.

Enjoy your weird quinoa, y’all!

 

 

LDN Marathon Training: Weeks 3 & 4

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Week 3 of my marathon training is when I promised myself that I would never, ever run less than 3 hours after eating dinner again.  Tuesday was a 4 miler. I was working at an event in a different city on Tuesday, so I had no opportunity to run before work, which is always a bummer. I prefer running in the morning so much more. Apart from wanting an extra hour in bed, there aren’t really many excuses to not run at six in the morning. At 5pm however, you’re tired, you’ve had a long day, you’re hungry, you’ve got to get dinner started, you’ve got a tonne of chores to do, the dog needs walking, the hamster cage needs cleaning, you’ve got to dust the skirting boards, the silverware needs polishing, the cd collection needs alphabetising!! Ohhh the excuses are abundant! The problematic thing about marathon training though, is that you sort of have to just take those excuses and shove them away, because 26.2 miles don’t just happen out of nowhere. Or at least, not for me, Lucy, Penguin Runner.

On Tuesday afternoon I drove home from the event I’d been working at and was starving. I decided to try eating dinner and then run a bit later in the evening. I managed to have dinner cooked and eaten by about 5.30, and by 8pm I was in the gym. Within about 6 minutes I knew I’d end up throwing up before I reached the 4 mile mark. I tried changing my run-walk patter, I tried running at a slower but more consistent pace, I tried distracting myself by changing the treadmill TV screen to a New Zealand ‘run through’ setting. As it turns out, when you’re knackered and trying not to vomit, New Zealand’s surroundings are actually just really annoying. Why are there so many trees?! I think I made it to about the 2.5 mile mark before I tapped out. At that point, it wasn’t just feeling physically sick that was getting in the way, I was so hyper aware that I was having a terrible run that my mental toughness was about as sturdy as a birthday jelly. In fact, I was so frustrated that I ended up going home in a huff and having a massive cry, like a big ole’ sweaty baby.

Thank GOD the rest of the week’s training went to plan, and without any notable trauma. There were a couple of 3 milers and on Saturday, my long run was 6 miles. I did that at a 13 minute mile pace, so believe me, I’m no Mo Farrah, but I felt good. I mean, relatively good. I didn’t have to crawl to the car or anything, so that was nice.

Week 4 surprised me. I hadn’t really looked ahead at my training programme in detail, so I was very close to doing a cartwheel of joy when I realised week 4 was almost a ‘rest’ week. My longest run was 3.8 miles, and the shortest was 2, with a few 3 milers sprinkled into the midweek mix.  I was quite chuffed with how easy the 3 milers were starting to feel, so I used the shorter distances to try and improve my pace. As I said, I’m definitely not going to be breaking any records speed wise. I take walk breaks, because otherwise running just isn’t fun for me, and I won’t make the distances. I am noticing that the further I get into my training plan, the easier I’m finding it to reduce those walk breaks. I’m currently walking about 2-5 minutes every mile, and running/jogging the rest. It seems to be working alright.

As always, if you would like to sponsor me and help raise money for mental health charity, Mind, click through to the link below.

www.virginmoneygiving.com/Lucy-Titterton

Virgin London Marathon 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 25: Runners pass by the University of Greenwich during the 2010 Virgin London Marathon on April 25, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

 

LDN Marathon Training: Week 2

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Week 2 of Marathon Training was supposed to look like this, according to my Nike+ app:

Monday – 3 miles

Tuesday – 5 miles

Wednesday – 3 miles

Thursday – Rest

Friday – 3 miles

Saturday – 5 miles.

What actually happened was this:

Monday – 3 miles

Tuesday – Ran 3 miles then realised the blister that I’d thought had healed, had not healed. Succinctly slammed fist down on the treadmill ‘stop’ button and went home to sulk about the injustice of it all.

Wednesday – Strapped foot in approximately 20 metres of bandaging and plasters, attempted to run on treadmill, burst blister, wanted to punch myself in the face. Spent the day hobbling around like an actual lemon.

Thankfully though, after that it was all uphill from there.  Now I think about it, that’s an odd turn of phrase isn’t it –  All uphill from there? Uphill is harder. Downhill is easier. Why would we describe things getting better as being ‘uphill’? Whoever coined that was clearly not a runner themselves. I digress. After a bit of foot airing and a LOT of complaining, things were on the mend! Rejoice!

On Saturday I decided enough was enough. I went to get new running shoes, yay! It was the first time I’d ever been to a ‘proper’ running shop. The imposter syndrome was firmly in place, let me tell you. The staff were perfectly welcoming, but as somebody who is…a bit jigglier than the average runner, shall we say, I always feel like I have to prove to people that I’m not an ‘all the gear, no idea’ type person. I feel like wearing a tshirt that says ‘I know I’m fat but I can still run OK?!’

Paranoia aside, at the running shop, they made me jog on the world’s most jolty treadmill, which films your feet from behind so the guys can assess what your stride is like. Watching that footage back was less than pleasing to the eye. As it turns out, I run with all the grace of a penguin. Additionally, it seems that my feet are destined for ugly running shoes. When I’d first walked into the shop, I’d spotted a pair of bright pink and orange Nike’s that I instantly decided were my soul mate. If there’s one time you can get away with wearing heinously bright shoes, it’s when you’re running. They were so beautiful… BUT NO. My stupid penguin feet required the most boring looking shoes in all the land.


My heart aches thinking about it. Still. I suppose, if we’re being grown ups about it, having correct support when running a billion miles is probably more important than aesthetics. God damn adulthood.

Since I got my new shoes, I’ve had much, much better runs, including a definite breakthrough run where I felt like I’d leveled up. Getting up at 5.30am to run before work isn’t easy. Running after work when you just want to go home and binge watch Jessica Jones is not easy.  So, it’s nice to feel like progress is happening. But alas. I’ll save that for next week’s update.

Again, I’m running for Mind, who are an incredible charity working to help those struggling with mental health problems. If you would like to sponsor me, click the link below:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/lucy-titterton

LDN Marathon Training: Week 1

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It’s a little over a week since I made the big announcement via my 3082 social media platforms that I’ve been lucky enough to snag a place on the London Marathon. After I’d posted that blog, the marathon was basically all I could think about for the next 48 hours. It’s a weird feeling. Running 26.2 miles feels incredibly abstract right now, but at the same time, the fear is very (x1000) real, so I’m training my big old bum off.

The first week of training was not without a hiccup or two. Typically my running shoes have chosen now to flake out on me. Seemingly, they aren’t as keen on achieving life goals as I am. Lets just say I have become very good friends with Compede blister plasters.Hopefully I can get to a running shop this weekend to replace my old Nike’s. RIP Nike’s. It’s been real.

Speaking of Nike, I used the Nike+ app to formulate a training programme. It’s quite cool, you put in your the date and distance of your race and it puts together a weekly schedule for you to follow. Pleasingly, my first training day (Monday) was scheduled as a rest day. Wahey! That’s what I’m talking about!

When Tuesday did come round, I did my first training run of 3 miles without too much hassle. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of interval training with short bouts of sprinting/walking/sprinting/walking, so cardio wise running 3 miles straight felt like quite a different beast – and it’s without too much shame I admit I did have to stop for a walking breather mid way. I think I did alright though. I mean, I completed the run without having to call for a paramedic or anything, so you know. Bonus.

On Wednesday however, about half way through my second training run I could feel that stupid, irritating burn of a blister forming underneath me. Seriously?! For the love of God. I just about finished, but in hindsight, I probably should have quit whilst I was ahead, because on Thursday I really struggled to walk. I popped into Boots on the way home from work to get some blister plasters on the recommendation of a work colleague (cheers Liz!).

Thursday was supposed to be a cross training day, but I was really nervous of bursting my blister and coming down with a terrible case of manky foot, so I decided to give it a miss. That decision left me feeling a bit useless. This is week 1 of my training and I already had to skip a day? Not the best start. Alas. I recently heard somebody on a podcast that you have to accept your shortcomings and move on, because if you place that negativity in front of you, you’ve got to clamber over it to get to what’s on the other side, which is ultimately going to take longer to do. I felt that was quite applicable to this situation. It’s amazing how much ‘being in your own head’ can impact how well a run goes. Onward and upwards as they say!

Apart from a Friday 3 miler, which went by with relative ease, that concluded my training last week. I feel like last week was more of a light introduction for those who are getting back into the swing of things, which was ideal for me, coming off the back of an interval training phase. I’m actually midway through week 2 of my training as this goes live, but I’ll post about that next week.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far! Give yourself a firm pat on the back – I know I waffle! If you would like to sponsor me for this mammoth run, the money will be going to mental health charity, Mind. Linky linky below:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/lucy-titterton

 

Jamie Oliver’s Skinny Carbonara

dinner, food, Health, lifestyle, Uncategorized, weight loss, weightloss, wellbeing

I don’t think I can quite express my love for Jamie Oliver. He is 100% my food idol. I love that he is a genuine creator of incredible dishes, rather than an adaptor. Not that there’s anything wrong with being an adaptor. I suppose technically, adapting is a form of creating. Kind of like riding a bike with stabilisers. You might not be doing it ALL by yourself, but nobody can argue you ain’t riding that bike. 

Anyway. Jamie calls this his skinny carbonara. Honestly, I have to say I’m not sure I 100% agree with that title. There’s no getting around the fact it just doesn’t taste like carbonara. However, that’s not to say it doesn’t taste incredible. Actually it’s one of those stupidly moreish dishes that seems to get tastier with every fork full. The base is made up of peas, basil, lemon juice, Parmesan, garlic and toasted almonds. Not your usual suspects. You also add in the more traditional to carbonara, crispy streaky bacon. Jamie’s recipe calls for one slice between 2 people. Now I have to be honest, I did use 2 slices. So sue me. Mine can be called slim carbonara rather than skinny.   

After mixing the blended pea purée, bacon and spaghetti together with a bit of leftover pasta water, you add in a mix of 100g low fat yoghurt and a large free range egg, whisked together. I love this bit. This is the foodie equivalent of removing the bucket from the top of a sand castle. Not enough heat, the egg won’t cook, too much heat and it will scramble. The danger! The thrill!! The adrenaline! Hold onto your knickers girls, it’s carbonara time! Wahhhhh! 

Thankfully, mine worked a treat. (I can practically hear your sigh of relief – God the tension). The yoghurty egg mixture helps the pea purée to really enrobe your spaghetti. (I once went on a date with a chef and he said that’s what it’s called when you coat pasta in sauce…if that’s the wrong term, blame him for being a git, not me.) 

This is my finished product:

This kind of dinner seems really fitting for today’s weather. It’s real October weather in Nottingham today. Not freezing cold, but there’s a big old blustery wind that has blanketed our entire street with fallen leaves. It’s quite pretty actually. It’s the sort of weather that makes you want to put the fire on and cosy up with a blanket and a bowl of something carby and comforting. This dish is particular handy because you don’t have to worry about breaking your weekday solace of healthy eating, but still feel like you’re having a treat. 
So far, I have to say I’m pretty impressed with this series. Well done Jamie, well done. For the full recipe and method, click here!