A Sociable Runner – Watford Local Running Events

Running is a lonely sport, or so I always though…

 

When I started off running outdoors I wasn’t that confident, so going it alone was fine for me. Yet now I have been doing it for years I craved something slightly different.

I recently decided to venture out on some new routes and realized they are a hell of a lot longer than I thought I was capable of. Result! So with this new found confidence I thought it’s about time I try to get out there and join some of my fellow running enthusiasts. I’ve been so surprised and excited by what is on offer locally for runners. So here’s a round-up of my first three ventures:

3 Local Running Events in Watford

Park Run:

Cassiobury Park, Watford

My first ever group run. On a cold, dreary Saturday morning I headed to Watford with a friend and was introduced to this great little community. Despite the fact is was seriously chilly and raining there was around 200 people there and ready to kick start their day with a jog. These events are weekly, free, and run completely by volunteers (who were all really friendly and encouraging).The course is 5k and had a range of abilities. Oh and at the end they record your time with a barcode, you get an email through telling you all your stats. Throughly impressed. In case you’re wondering, the picture below is from my second, sunnier, park run!

Park Run Cassiobury(photo credit Glyn Jagger)

Watling Street Striders:

Post run meal
Best Post-Run Meal

North Watford

Beer and running? You bet. Over the weekend I happened to be enjoying a beer at the Watling Street Brewery (a great bar in Watford with the brewery attached). It was there that I was made aware of a weekly run that starts and ends at the bar, with a free pint for all runners. What a great concept. Held every Wednesday, there are three routes so great for all abilities, set on a pretty trail through parks and woods.

I turned up that very Wednesday on my own. As I walked through the door I was greeted by owner, Rudi, who remembered my name and introduced me to the group, so no ice to break either. After the run everyone sets themselves along a big table to enjoy the runners high and a refreshing beer. Plates of freshly cooked steak slices are put out to nibble on, and to my relief the staff remembered I’m veggie, offering up a hearty, home made, veggie burger as an alternative. Can’t ask for much more than that!

Kelly’s Storage 10K Race:

Chrissy running

Cassiobury Park, Watford

My first race. This 10k race is hosted annually by storage company Kelly’s at Cassiobury Park, Watford. Kelly’s put on the whole event so 100% of all donations go to charity. You can enter the race for free, although most make a donation to worthy cause Watford Mencap. It’s strange how the minute you turn up to a race rather than a social event it changes your outlook. On the day, I collected my number and was pysching myself up to keep a good pace. The course was very pretty and takes you through woodlands as well as the park. A great atmosphere with everyone cheering each other on, plus a medal at the end. I’ll be along next year for sure.

What Are You Waiting For?

I can’t quite believe it’s taken me so long to get out there and do some events. If you, like me, have been going it alone, I would definitely recommend joining a local club or park run. It is surprising just how many are out there. It’s sociable, motivation for when you can’t be bothered and other runners let you in on new events too. There’s also the fact that there is always someone faster to keep up with. It’s bound to do wonders for your PB times. Have I reeled off enough yet?

Bring on the Regents Park 10k next!

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A Vegetarian Disaster Meal

My latest foodie adventure turned vegetarian disaster!

So as many of you know, I am a vegetarian*. So when I find a new vegetarian restaurant I do get a little bit excited. I always feel like a veggie burger from a true vegetarian restaraunt is going to be top-class rather than the standard overdone spicy bean burger on literally every single menu. But no. Think Again..This is a tale of how my lovely night out for dinner and music turned into a hellish 2 day bloat-fest.

* – Well, not quite, I am technically a pescatarian. Although pescatarian is a bit wordy so I tend to just say veggie when asked.

My Vegetarian Disaster Meal Begins..

Last week my beau and I ventured over to Camden to see some live music and thought what better way to start the evening than by grabbing some tasty food at a veggie restaraunt, convieniently very near by.

We sat down and took our time at the place, it was very comfortable and they had great organic beer, we sipped away happily and chatted for a while first and didn’t feel rushed – great. When we finally got to ordering our mains we both went for a classic, the burger.

A great burger menu – things are looking good

Now, let me tell you, the burger menu was top-notch. Halloumi burger – I thought no, even though halloumi is my  second love I have it all the time, let’s be original. So it came down to a ‘chicken’ burger (yes, fake breaded chicken!) or a burger comprising of white beans and beetroot, flavoured eastern-european style with dill and pickled cabbage. So obviously went for the latter. Being that I am half Czech it’s too tempting not to have some flavours that my mama would make back in the day.

We actually both went for the same thing, so out came our burger and fries. They looked totally devourable and tasted divine. They were a fair size but nothing we couldn’t handle. I mean, eating is like my hobby so I took my time and polished off most of it (minus some chips). Obviously immediately after we both felt full, however usually it subsides after a bit of digestion…

Veggie Burger

 

1 hour post-dinner

Okay, we’ve left the restaraunt now and are having a pre-gig drink at a pub. My stomach actually feels bigger than when I first finished my food. I’m looking at my G&T with a sense of dread as I think I might pop Henry 8th style if I finish it. What is going on? It was a burger and fries not a food challenge! I look at my boyfriend and can tell he is in the same boat. The faint hope is still there that we will start to feel a little more comfortable if we give it enough time.

2 hours post-dinner

We felt so challenged at the digestive process that even holding a conversation at the pub seemed laboured. We finished our drinks and left, walking up and down Camden High Street in the cool air for some relief before heading to our venue. It begins to dawn on us that this is no usual post-meal feeling. This is something way, way, worse. But how could it be?  We didn’t eat any more than we usually would. We suffer from no digestive ailments and the food was clearly cooked well so it couldn’t be due to that. We’ll just ignore it any go about our business as usual..

3 hours post-dinner

At the venue now, listening to some cool blues music courtesy of Ian Siegal (check him out if you haven’t already!). The g&t is still looking more like a punishment than a treat. We’re both standing but even that is difficult, my belly is pressing against the cute faux-leather skirt I wore especially. I can’t bear it, I just want to sit down and unzip my gut so it can hang free in all it’s gargantuan glory. Enjoyment of the gig is severely effected, can’t quite get in the mood.

3.5 hours post-dinner

Mid-set now, probably 8 tracks in, I look over to my boyfriend, kinda hoping that he is feeling normal again and enjoying the gig but also kinda hoping that his guts are just as bad so we can bail out and go home. He confirms the latter. Literally, we felt so awfully bloated and full it killed the vibe of the evening. Got the tube back home and would describe the feeling of walking through the front door, removing my tight skirt and flopping out on the sofa as somewhat orgasmic. So the vegetarian disaster meal has turned into a vegetarian disaster night.

But..WHAT GIVES?

I am a seasoned professional at burgers and beers. I know some might argue that the beers didn’t exactly help the situation but honestly I have never felt so bloated in my whole beer-drinking life so I knew that couldn’t be it. Out of curiosity I start to think ‘well, what else was in that burger?’ I check back at the menu and see that the patty is primarily made out of white beans.

Vegetarian disaster - beans that bloat

Moral of the story..Don’t EVER order anything made entirely out of white beans

‘Beans, beans, the musical fruit’. Yes, we all know the song but let’s face it, no one ever really thinks like that when you pick some food with beans in it. I’ve had beans plently of times with no ramifications, so what gives? White beans are super difficult to digest, as my Google search confirms. They are very fiborous and will sit in your gut and ferment causing that lovely tight-belly feeling. Queue suddenly feeling about 7 stone overweight or actually in the latter stages of a pregnancy. If only there was some warning on the menu like they do with crustaceans or gluten...’Warning, vibe-killer meal, liable to excessive bloating’. Honestly I have never known anything like it!

It was actually such a shame. I was trying to impress my boyfriend with some cool vegetarian food to turn him away from his beef burger eating ways. Needless to say the opposite has happened, he’s insisting that next time we’re out he picks the restaraunt. A total vegetarian disaster. The second shame is that I reckon the restaraunt is actually pretty sound (hense why I haven’t name-dropped them in this rant-post). The food was really nice! Although I do wish I had never eaten it because of all the trouble afterwards. It took about 48 hours before I felt back to normal.

A word of warning for all of you vegetarians though, beware of the beans. I am seriously blacklisting any bean-based food from my menu for a long while.

Total. Fail.

 

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My Daily Face Care Routine

You could call me a bit of a delinquent when it comes to beauty and face care. I’ve been using the same eyeliner for a good five years. I quite frankly don’t get this obsession with ‘contouring’ and when it comes to moisturiser I use any old one on offer in Boots. Then every now and again I will take a closer look at my face and be horrified at the state of my skin. So I’ve finally decided I should probably invest in a proper face care routine.

Luckily enough I hinted about getting in some nice products and one of my friends produced these lovely little potions as a birthday present. So I have ditched the 99p facewipes and bargain bucket cream for these:

My new face care regime

Formula 10.0.6 Best Face Forward Daily Foaming Cleanser, Passionfruit & Green Tea – £7.49 for 150ml

Best Face Forward Cleanser Face Care

I use this every night before bed. This gel cleanser does what it says on the tin, when you apply it, it foams up well. This makes for a good experience as you really feel you have washed the days grease away without having to scrub too much. It’s got a light but sweet passionfruit smell and I always find my skin feels soft afterwards. I’ve been using this consistently for a week now and I have noticed my skin improving. My pores are getting less and less noticeable. Each morning I used to feel I had to apply foundation to cover up the imperfections on my skin but haven’t felt the need to do this the last few days.

Formula 10.0.6 don’t use any parabens, so that gets a tick from me. The company has been around since 1933 but the site doesn’t show much about their ethos which would be nice.

 

Yes to Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturizer – £11.99 for 50ml

Moisturiser Yesto Cucumbers Face CareTo start with, it smells amazing. I smooth this onto my face after cleansing at night and the cucumber scent is a nice bonus, it feels like you have just put fresh cucumbers on your face! I have quite dry skin and this product certainly does the job of making it smoother, yet I don’t wake up with an oily face, so I’m pretty pleased with this one. It’s a good consistency, quite thick and easy to apply, plus the design of the bottle makes it easy to squeeze out just the right amount.
As a company Yes To don’t use parabens, don’t test on animals and donate some of their profits to organizations to help others such as the Seed Fund (although I couldn’t find much further info about it..). I’ll defintely keep using this one, if it’s one thing that helps to convince me to part with my money it’s that the company will use it well instead of pocketing it all like some of the big beauty manufacturers out there. Plus they have lots of other great products that are made with fruits such as coconuts & blueberries, sounds tasty!

Take Care Of Your Skin With A Face Care Routine!

This is coming from me guys, take care of your skin! I fell into the lazy category for years but even in the short amount of time I have started giving my skin some proper attention I find it looks far better. Plus this face care routine involves using just two products. That’s something even a real lazy girl like myself can implement.

I’ve never really been spotty but the grease from the day and from makeup products caused black heads. And let’s be honest, who can leave blackheads alone? Gone are the days I find myself trying to pick at these imperfections on my face. Which obviously will cause a red spot and then I repeat the whole cycle by covering it up with yet more makeup. I always thought ‘ah well’ I’m still young I’ll care about my skin when I’m older’. Admittedly a flawed idea!

 Chrissy's Face Care

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Don’t Let Self Doubt Catch You Out

It’s something that you can’t quite describe until you are in the midst of it, a bought of the ole’ self doubt.
You know that feeling, when everything is going well, yet self doubt stops you in your tracks? Not sure what I mean? Here’s some signs you might be holding yourself back from your own sucess:

You wake up a different person

So usually you are a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of person, right? Have a good sense of self and wake up with the get-up and go attitude? Yeah, me too. Usually. But this last week it hasn’t been the case. I’ve been waking up and thinking up all sorts of put-downs. Completely irrational, and pretty unhelpful really.  It is almost like a switch has been turned on and I can’t quite get back to my usual way of thinking.

You can’t get going

For most of us time is precious, we Brits work the longest hours in the whole of the European Union. Yet on one of your few days off that you had so many plans for, you find yourself lying in, wasting time on social media and decide it’d be best to stay in your pyjamas. It’s a vicious circle between not being motiviated enough to start something and then guilty for wasting time!  Work days can be even worse, you might find that nagging voice is trying to talk you out of being productive.

Your outlook is negative

This really ties in with the last point. If you have a negative outlook, how on earth will you get going? Do you think Serena Williams gets up each morning and talks herself down before getting on the tennis court? No, that’s not what gets the job done. A positive mental attitude is half of the hurdle. Rather than sit there and over-think things when I know I am in a bad mood I just try to convince myself to ignore these unwanted thoughts and carry on as normal. If I am still feeling negative about something down the line, then i’ll invest some time to think about the problem!

Self doubt

What’s The Cause?

There are so many reasons we can get into a mental slump, try to ascertain what you think might be contributing. When you understand what causes you to act a certain way you are more likely to be able to prevent it.

What Breeds Self Doubt?

– Comparing yourself to others
– Someone being critical of you and knocking your self esteem
– Being overworked  and under too much pressure
– Hanging around people with negative outlooks
– Monthly hormonal changes

It’s not an exhaustive list, but hopefully it has made you reflect and understand what may be having an impact on your moods. For me, the week leading up to my period can sometimes catch me out. It’s crazy how much a change in hormones can effect my mood! In a way I am lucky because I know I just have to ride it out and soon I will be back to normal. Although for some of you the doubt may not disspear so quickly.

If your mental struggle with self-doubt is stopping you from acheiving there are little lifestyle changes you can make that will help.

What You Can Do To Banish Self Doubt

walkingExercise: Exercise is a great way of alleviating all sorts of mental stresses. When you get out into the fresh air and get your body moving it allows a bit of breathing space. You will find your focus will be on the task at hand, rather than all that overthinking you’ve been doing. Not only this but exercise releases endorphins, which promote an overall feeling of wellbeing. So even if it is just a brisk walk, get out and move your body when you can feel that negative mood setting in.

 

 Herbal teaWatch your diet: If you are feeling not quite yourself, it’s probably best to lay off the caffiene and alcohol. Stimulants and depressants are the last thing you need effecting your moods. They can make an already anxious mind go into overdrive! Herbal teas are a great option if, like me, you like to sip on a warm mug of something throughout the day.Try to aim for a varied diet too. I always feel that little bit better in myself if I am making the effort to fuel up properly.

 


Talk: 
Sounds obvious, but so On the phonemany of us internalize our problems, thinking they aren’t significant enough to warrant talking about it. A good friend or family member will be happy to listen, so if you really can’t lift yourself out of your self-doubt then I’d recommend having a chat. It’ll ease the burden and most of the time the people around you can offer you some valuable advice too. Get off whatsapp and actually give a friend a call for a change.

 

Remember, we are all capable of achieving great things. Even the most successful people started off from nothing. Believing you can do something is probably the biggest step you can take!

Not going to lie though, this post took me about three days to finish, I just kept on stopping. Note to self: Must remember to take own advice.

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Luxury Toast – Peanut Butter Crunch

There’s no reason for toast to be boring these days, use some imagination and it can turn into your favourite go-to brekkie. Here’s my favourite luxury toast creation. Crunchy rye toast, loaded with peanut butter.

 

My Luxury Toast – Peanut Butter Crunch

Peanut Butter Crunchy Rye

I get looks from my friends as though I’ve gone mad, as this genuinely is my top breakfast. Forget a full english or a trip to the cafe. It’s gotta be properly dense rye bread, toasted on the highest setting, so it goes all crispy and a bit burnt around the edges. Then it’s ready to be slathered with peanut butter, chopped banana, a drizzle of honey & seasame seeds. Heaven. Just divine.

My love of peanut butter was only discovered a few years ago. I did a stint at being a vegan, bought a jar for protein purposes and literally had to hold back from devouring the whole thing. Needless to say my vegan month was heavily supplimented by peanutty goodness.

So just in case you want to copy this heavenly slice, all you need is:

Crunchy Peanut Butter Rye

A truly tasty combination for a super tasty breakfast.

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 Slice Rye Bread
  • 1 Banana
  • Sprinkle Seasame Seeds
  • Honey

Instructions

  1. Cut your rye bread in half and put it in the toaster for the highest setting (make sure it's proper dense rye, as this is the one that can take longer to toast).

  2. Chop a banana into slices

  3. Once the toast has popped slather on a healthy amount of peanut butter, top with the sliced bananas, drizzle on the honey and add a sprinkle of seasame seeds on top. Voila!

Jazz Up Your Toast

I find it quite easy in the morning to get breakfast down. I’m a foodie, I’m always thinking about food and little all else. But if you are part of that weird camp that can’t eat too early, maybe take a more creative approach to your breakfast and jazz it up with some of your favourite things. Avocado, ricotta, fruit compote..the list goes on.

I’d definitely recommend starting out with rye bread as your base, for many reasons as I mention in my post about the best breads for weight loss

That’s all for now, I’ve just heard the toaster pop..

Peanut Butter Crunch Toast

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3 Best Breads for Weight Loss

Bakery Bread

Carb lovers unite, we all love a bit of bread, but the big question is: what is the best bread for weight loss?

If you have tried and failed miserably at a ‘low carb’ diet then don’t fear, you are not alone. I tried too and all it did was make me lethargic and low on energy. Plus I seriously missed bread. Now I know there are still diets knocking around that claim reducing carbs can be beneficial, but it’s not for everyone. It’s important that the way we treat food is realistic, so let’s face it, we can’t just go cutting out bread for good.

This considered, we should still make good choices with the bread we choose to eat. But what is the best variety to keep off the pounds? Here are my top three.

My Number 1 – Rye Bread

In case you didn’t know, Rye, or ‘Pumpernickel’, is a German bread made using ground rye and a sourdough starter. That is the big difference, as the loaf you and I know well is made with wheat and yeast. The benefits of substituting your normal slice with some rye is that it will keep you fuller for longer as it’s got far more fibre. Not only this, when compared to an average slice of white bread, rye fairs better in terms of calorie count. It’s got a different taste and texture, but I really like it. I toast it on high so it is really crunchy, then you can add what you like. As a topping, peanut butter with bananas is one of my favourites.

In Second Best Place – Wholewheat Bread

Wholewheat, you can pick it up in all supermarkets big and small, and unlike rye, it’s pretty similar to the nations favourite white loaf. It looks and feels pretty similar, it’s just brown instead. Wholewheat bread is made, you guessed it, by using the whole of the wheat. The benefits of this are that the bran and wheatgerm give an extra hit of fibre. Great for digestion and for keeping you full up! I initially grew up eating white bread but made the swap to wholemeal years ago. I’m so used to it now that I can really tell the difference if I’ve eaten white instead (which is basically that I get the munchies pretty quickly, boo!).  So if you know you aren’t going to have time for lunch, maybe pop some wholemeal in the toaster for breakfast to keep you going for longer.

3rd Place – Granary

Granary bread is packed full of added whole grains. Usually the bread itself will be made with wholewheat flour too, so the fibre content will be high which is super good for your digestive system. Wholegrains are complex carbohydrates, which your body relies on as a primary source of energy. Focussing on foods that are nutritionally superior will make you less likely to need a snack in between meals. So if you are a bread lover it is definitely worth picking up some yummy granary bread to make your sarnies with. It’s got far more going for it than your doorstop white loaf.

So there you have it, three options that you don’t have to feel guilty about. Superior taste, more nutrients and keeps hunger in check, what’s not to like? For those of you watching your waistlines it is a no brainer.

If you are sighing at the thought of leaving behind those white rolls and doorstop wedges then check out my recipes section for a few ideas that might enthuse you. I have toast for breakfast every weekend and crunchy rye is simply devine. Have I mentioned peanut butter on rye is like my favourite thing ever? …*Trails off into peanut butter day dream*.

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Phone Junkie

I love my iPhone.

Not trying to advertise for Apple as I genuinely can’t afford the rest of their electronic gadgets…but I am so pleased that the one item I do have from them is an iPhone.

It just does so much to make my life easier, I order my food shopping on an app on my phone, I whatsapp my friends to stay in touch,  I flick on to social media when I’m out waiting for a bus (or indeed at home, when the other half has picked a really boring film on a Saturday night). It even tracks my period!

But then I downloaded this app called ‘Moment’. It’s a tracker that logs the time you spend on your phone, which is a great concept as it has just brought home how much time I spend using the bloody thing! It logs your time into categories, so if you spend under an hour a day on your phone it’s green, between 1-2 hours, orange and anything over in red. It’s like being back at school although the only thing that is being graded is how well you spend your time!

Needless to say my tracker is not looking good, a lot of orange mixed in with a few greens (go me!) and worryingly a few reds. I know for a fact that if I added all this time together only about a third of it would have been spent productively, on phone calls or work emails. The rest? Wasted. I could have been doing a host of other, more exciting things, but instead I was staring down at my phone, like a little screen zombie.

I do kind of semi-annually have this conversation with myself in my own head about cutting down my screen time, I’ll try to impose these new rules where I ignore the impulse to google cute cat videos. This normally lasts about a week or so…and then I slip back into my regular routine. I’ve even put all my apps together in a folder called ”Wasted Time” to try to deter me, it doesn’t work.

So my phone use is habitual and like I’m sure many would agree, habits can be hard to break.

I am lost as to what to do to try and cut my nasty habit (haha!) but I’ve come up with a few baby steps that I’m hoping will help me do the trick.

  1. Weaning off Slowly
    Going cold-turkey definitely did not work for me, so my new strategy is to delete useless apps one at a time, I’ve started with Twitter. Poof! Gone! I’m not missing it, but then again I’m getting my daily dose of junk from Facebook and Insta so I think those will be harder to cut.
  2. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
    It’s so easy to get to my office and whack the phone out next to me on my desk, planting it there all day so that I can hear every buzz of a new email or every notification. Of course though, you don’t just go and check that email then get right back to work (hope my boss isn’t a reader here..) you end up getting a junk email from River Island about new lines being added to the sale and then before you know it, you’ve spend 20 minutes scrolling through reduced clothes. Doh! So the phone is staying firmly locked away in my bag until break times.

Thats’s pretty much the only wisdom I have on this particular topic and I must say..I am finding it super hard to stick to my wits and stop tapping away on my phone. Any phone addicts out there have a similar experience? Please do share your own tips, have you discovered an app like Moment that is helping you see the error of your ways? How much of your life have you re-gained? I need inspiration!

Till next time x

 

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Unhealthy Lifestyle: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

Like a lot of young people, at the start of it all, when I was about 18 and studying at college,  all I wanted to do was unlock the key of how to get skinny and more importantly..STAY SKINNY.

Now I look back I realise that my thoughts on having a nice figure were a little off-kilter with a healthy lifestyle, but this is how my un-balanced (and to be quite honest, un-happy!) day would pan out.

Eating:  Every calorie counted, every little bit of food to cross my lips had a value and was getting me closer to my oh-so-small daily allowance. I wasn’t working out at all, so aside from the long walk to and from college, I wasn’t giving my body the opportunity to burn off the food I was ingesting, so in my mind, the calories I got through had to be minimal..or I’d get fat.

Mistake To Avoid: Don’t starve. Don’t focus on calories like they are the key. Diet is very important, but remember your body burns an amount of calories in each given day just to function (your basal metabolic rate). Make sure you always have enough fuel to keep your body running like a well oiled machine.

Exercise: Non existant. To give myself some credit, I was studying far from where I lived so by the time I’d taken two trains and walked a couple of miles with a guitar and books (the joys of being a music student..), I’m sure it accounted for something. But I had nothing else going on. No gym classes or hobbies like netball.

Mistake To Avoid: Thinking that exercise isn’t important. Yes, you can lose weight without it, but it’s much better to incorporate some light exercise into your life, not just to keep your body looking nice, but to keep your mind healthy. I can’t believe what I was missing. It’ll be really hard to start with if you’re new to it, but as time goes on you will value this key part of your life that was gone for so long!

The Goal: 18 Year old Chrissy’s top priority was to have no fat and to weigh in as small as possible, the scales don’t lie, I thought.

Mistake To Avoid: Don’t set unrealistic goals. It always led me to disspointment, eg: the scales say I’m three pounds lighter that my goal weight, so why do I still have a paunchy belly?
It does not work that way. Your body is a machine with lots of elements that cause the dial  on the scales to move. Water weight before your period, does that count? Also, muscle development will add weight but doing excercise will make you lose fat, so it’s hard to get an overall assessment just from a weigh in. You’ll know when the going is good from what you see in the mirror.

Looking back at where I stumbled, it all seems so obvious now, but when you are just starting and have no guidance you do it the hard way, learning from your mistakes.

Does any of the above resonate with you? Start to learn your bad habits and try to retrain your mind to think about them in a different light.

So you want to be skinny? Ask yourself, is that really what you want? Can you maintain your life so you look that way? Would you rather be healthy and the weight loss comes as a result?

Get your thinking caps on!

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