A Fresh Perspective on Exercise

Exercise is my nemesis to be honest. I go through waves of really enjoying workouts, then really hating it and that’s completely normal. At university, my gym membership consisted of gym and swim which meant I could switch between the two, but as work got intense, my motivation to do either slipped because the off-peak hours felt awkward to fit exercise into my day (in reality, I could have just woken up earlier). But then we hit the storm that is coronavirus and my university deadlines were over much quicker than expected. After months of uni work, library days and lectures, I had no structure to my days – a complete 360.

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Finding Your Go-To Comfy & Casual Uniform

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We’ve all been there, stood in front of the wardrobe and thinking ‘what on earth am I going to wear’. At the moment, the focus is on comfort for our working from home days. Lounge wear is GREAT and definitely ‘fashion trend’ at the moment but sometimes getting *properly* dressed can work wonders too. I haven’t gone as far as wearing make-up daily though.

The UK is in the ‘spring to summer’ fashion period. One day it’ll be a scorcher, the next day we’ll be searching for the jumpers. I’ve never found Spring/Summer fashion an easy balance to strike and typically, the one day I decide to wear a cute summer dress, its WAY too windy. But whilst we’re in the home environment, it’s the perfect time to ‘shop your wardrobe’. You might find few items that you forgot about – for me, I finally had the right colour jeans but had never paired it with the green top. Here are my 4 staples for comfy/casual ‘at home’ outfits.

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Setting Self-Care Goals for 2020

Creating goals for the new year might seem a little cliche, but I’m here for it. Has anyone mentioned that we are starting a new decade?

Time feels like it is going a million miles an hour at the moment and being in my final year at university, the obvious goals for 2020 will be completing my degree and hopefully securing a job for after graduation. Quite a lot of pressure seems to be riding on this year, right?

I do really like the idea of ‘starting afresh’, opening up the chapter to the new year and setting goals is one of the ways to get my thoughts in order. Thinking about the year ahead has made me realise that I need to make time for myself, so the goals for me this year will be more simplistic but hopefully easier to keep on top of.

Yoga once a week. I started 2019 going to weekly yoga classes but had about 2/3 months where I didn’t do any. That time made me realise how much I’d missed it, so getting back into yoga classes at university has been so good (and kept me sane!). The plan is to set aside time every week to do yoga, whether that’s a class, a YouTube video or a combination of my favourite moves.

Reflect and Journal as much as possible. I’m not setting a ‘measurable’ on this one but hopefully it’ll become a habit. This year I started using a bullet journal (you can read about my September bullet journal here) and it was set out in a way to manage blog posts/university/mental health. I want to do more of this in 2020 as I find the process of setting out my journal creative and by reflecting over time, this should help get my thoughts in order. I’ve also started working my way through Fearne Cotton’s Happy and Calm books which I’m finding really good so far!

Read 20 Books. 20 books for 2020 right? I’m a pretty quick reader when I want to be and give me a good fiction book, I’ll plough through it as quickly as possible when I’m hooked. I read 10 books over July and August but as soon as I settled back into University, my reading definitely took a back seat. Setting a yearly target (as inspired by TheAnnaEdit) will work through the ebbs and flows of my motivation for reading. I’ll keep track of this on my instagram if that is something you’re interested in!

Healthy Eating. A few years ago, I decided that I need to scrap the ‘new years diet’. Typically, I became frustrated that I couldn’t stay on track. Over the years, I’ve learnt more about intuitive eating (Tally Rye has really good info on this!) and being a vegetarian has made me feel better. I’ve got used to the recipes I make regularly now so 2020 will be the year of exploring more recipes that will be healthy and delicious!

That’s all from me for 2019! Hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas break and are feeling ready for the New Year. What are your goals/resolutions for 2020? Let me know how you get on!

Im x

How to Feel More Body Confident

As I’m writing this, it’s been a very chilled Sunday afternoon of pretty much doing nothing. I’d caught up on all the series I’ve been watching, so picked the first thing Netflix’s ‘Top Picks’ list, ‘I Feel Pretty’ & as it turns out a Netflix rom-com was just what I needed. But, the underlying message of ‘everyone is beautiful’ in this film has got me thinking.

I’m on my own lil journey towards ‘body confidence’ (as I’m sure we all are!), but here’s a few ways that might help along the way…

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One Year On – ‘The Inbetween Size’

So, a year ago, I wrote a post called ‘The In-between size‘ this was talking about how I’ve found it difficult to judge sizing, whether that was trying clothes on in shops or online shopping. Let’s be honest, how many times have we liked an item, it didn’t quite fit, but it was too much effort to go get the next size & try it on again?

The reason why I’ve wanted to write a post like this again is because I went shopping the other day and tried on the same skirt in different colours but in the same size. Now will you believe me if I said one fitted & the other didn’t?! Even though it was the same skirt, the sizing was completely off.

Since writing the last blog post, I feel as though my mindset has shifted. That’s in a good way. Yes I still have moments of thinking ‘why do no clothes fit me?!’ as I can’t get the sizing or the style right, but it’s a learning curve & so this is what I’ve learnt over the last year:

  1. Wear Colour – this was always something I shied away from, I love a neutral colour but found I was always leaning towards black for when I wanted to feel comfortable & it is true that black jeans go with everything! A colour consultation has really helped here (just to note: colour consultations are expensive & I was very lucky to be gifted one but I will say that they are definitely worth the money). To know the colours that suit me best, means that I already feel better when wearing them, for example; as I have blue eyes, blue is one of the easiest colours for me to wear & one that I feel comfortable in. But it has pushed me outside of my comfort zone, I’ve realised that I can wear colours like greens & pinks more often.
Dress & Sandals – New Look

2. Try different styles – last year, I’d just discovered culottes (late to the party as always), but I was always unsure as to whether they’d suit me. I’ve expanded my collection over the year to a denim pair & a navy culotte jumpsuit, but will most definitely be on the lookout for more now the weather is getting warmer. Mom jeans is another style I didn’t think would suit me, but after giving them a go & realising how comfy they are, I’m sold.

3. Size is just a number – unfortunately, even though my mindset has shifted, I’ve only recently started to recognise this. But it’s the same as wearing styles that suit best, as they need to fit right too. By wearing the size that fits the best, hopefully prioritises comfort (we all want to sit down without jeans cutting into our waistband right?), but as well would help confidence, and that’s something I’m working on!

How have your experiences with clothes sizing been?

All clothes pictured are from New Look – Links below:

Khaki Dress – https://www.newlook.com/uk/womens/clothing/dresses/green-spot-print-belted-tunic-dress/p/614790339?comp=Browse

Sandals – https://www.newlook.com/uk/womens/footwear/shoes/sandals/wide-fit-camel-straw-effect-footbed-sliders/p/613380917?comp=Search

Denim Culottes – https://www.newlook.com/uk/womens/clothing/jeans/blue-d-ring-buckle-denim-culottes/p/610470940?comp=Search

Jumpsuit no longer on website but there are plenty of similar jumpsuits: https://www.newlook.com/uk/womens/clothing/playsuits-jumpsuits/c/uk-womens-clothing-playsuits-jumpsuits?comp=NavigationBar%7Cmn%7Cwomens%7Cclothing%7Cdepartment%7Cplaysuitsjumpsuits%7Cgbl#/?q=:relevance:colourGroupCode:40&page=1&sort=relevance&content=false

Exercising for Me & My Body

I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a while, and there’s no better time than after my first zumba class in a while, whilst I’m full of endorphins & wanting to talk about how great exercise is for our minds. This week, it’s mental health awareness week, and I’ve seen plenty of posts talking all about body image & how we feel about ourselves.

I’m going to start this off by saying I’m not perfect with accepting my body image, I’d love to be that little bit smaller, but the main thing for me, is that I want to feel comfortable, fit & healthy in my own body. Today may not be the best day to write this as I have fuelled my body with cake the last few days, following a cake sale at work, but eh it’s all about balance right? I’ve come back from a 45 minute zumba class & my mindset is x10 better than it was an hour or so before.. and that my friends is what I want to talk about.

i don’t actually lift these weights, but the gym was quiet = selfie

The main question I think is: why do we exercise? Do you do it for you? The reason why I ask this, is that my relationship with exercise has been up & down, (I actually wrote one of my first blog posts on this:
https://theimlifex.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/fitness/ ). Since that blog post, my fitness routine has changed, I’ve got access to a gym, I’ve done weekly yoga classes, & I will begin training for a 15 mile walk, and although I wouldn’t say I’ve lost much weight, but I am definitely fitter & healthier than I was. Normally, if I was exercising regularly and not seeing much of a difference in weight, I’d become demotivated, and question if I was doing enough. But this year, I’ve noticed the change that exercise does to my mindset, especially if I’m feeling stressed – take today for example, I was tired & I could have most definitely sat and watched Netflix all evening (which is perfectly justified just to add!), but I just knew that I needed to move to get rid of all the stress. Zumba worked pretty well for that, I may have felt like I was nearly a professional Latin dancer, but I most definitely was not!!

definitely a quote to live by!
t-shirt – stay wild swim

So, in light of the body image theme for mental health awareness, I think we need to not be too hard on ourselves. Exercise because you want to, not because the voice in your head is telling you to burn off the calories you’ve consumed that day, no matter how much cake you ate. Exercise no matter what size/shape you are, take away the scales & measure progress based on how you feel, your fitness & your strength. It’s okay to have bad days, and to not want to exercise ~ accept those days & move on. Finally, ignore every comment someone makes about your size/fitness/strength etc & remember you are doing this for you, if you want to & when you want to, not for them.

By nourishing our bodies, knowing our capabilities & what makes us smile – we don’t have to be on a track to ‘lose the pounds’, we can be on an exercise journey, simply because we want to. Remember, #bebodykind ~ not just to others, but to yourself as well.

Why I’m avoiding the New Year diet..

And just like that, Christmas has flown by! For me it was the best chilled day I could have asked for, plenty of food, afternoon naps and board games.

Previous New Years that I’ve approached in my 20 years of life, have been promising myself to get on the new year diet as soon as Jan 1st rolls around. Normally, I’ve got a new cookbook or some kind of exercise equipment for Christmas and I’m ready to try it out. But it never seems to last long, I slip up with the new year of dieting and exercise one way or another and don’t see the point of going back to it, typically before Jan 31st!

Last year, I chose not to put too much pressure on myself to follow a New Year diet and I think 2018 has taught me a lot, especially with how to balance fitness and health in a more regular way.

This summer, I decided to go vegetarian and feel as though this has shaped my eating habits into a more healthy balanced way. Simply because I just bloody love veg but actually it’s been a really good change for me to feel passionate about the food I’m creating and putting into my body (shown by my veggie Christmas dinner creation!). That’s definitely not saying I’m perfect with food, a few too many chocolates have been consumed this Christmas period, but I feel as though my habits are slowly starting to change.

Balancing fitness wise has always been something I’ve struggled with, hence why I’ve always pushed it as a focus in previous January’s. This year, I’ve learnt to enjoy the time I can go to the gym this and to feel better for it, instead of always feeling I’m pushing myself to lose weight. Programmes such as Tally Rye’s ‘#bestmemotivationmonth’, have really helped me alter my mindset towards going to the gym and I’ve stayed fairly active over the festive period with dog walks and exploring new places!

Although January can be full of motivation for some of us, it can really feel like a struggle to be prioritising going to the gym 3-4 times a week so for the New Year, I’m going to try and use the time when I’m at the gym to push myself further, whether its 30 mins, 40 mins or an hour.

But finally, the main reason why I’m going to avoid the New Year diet this year, is acceptance. I want to feel good about myself and what I’m doing fitness/health wise, rather than pressurising myself to go to the gym three times a week. It can be easy to get caught up into it all, especially the ‘New Year, New Me’ aspect. Although January can kick-start motivation for healthy eating and exercise, it’s worth remembering that your size/weight does not define you, feeling good about yourself can and will take time and it’s a roller-coaster journey so heres to 2019!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas of indulgence and enjoy the New Year! ❤