21.7.14

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Fitness & Health | #1


I announced early on in the Summer that I began a sort-of "lifestyle change" if you will - I started exercising, changing my diet around and reevaluating my day-to-day habits. I also said I'd start a fitness and health series on my blog; although I'm starting it later than anticipated, I feel I'm 100 times more ready and clued-in as to how I was a month or two ago. This first post will be a general all-rounder talking about me, my history with fitness and food etc. I also decided to name the series "The Lazy Girl's Guide to Fitness & Health" - not the most original of titles but it sums me up. I'm lazy - I love sleeping and sitting down - I'd rather get a taxi than participate in an hour-long walk at times. I'm a wholehearted Lazy Lucy and I'm quite sick of it!

My history with fitness and health is quite poor; I detested P.E class in school and ended up with a weekly case of "cramps" half of the time to escape it. I never found it fun and I dreaded the changing room. Many of you know I suffered (and still do suffer) with a lot of body image problems, Body Dysmorphic Disorder being my main demon. Although it is nowhere near as bad as it was when I was 16-17, I still have to live with it daily - as with any mental issue, unfortunately there are no "cures" for it.

Although I hated P.E and the majority of physical activities school and the likes offered during adolescence, I adored dancing as a child. Most people (even my friends) don't know about my past as a dancer as I stupidly gave it up aged 13 when school life took over and I became increasingly self-conscious. From the age of 3, I participated in weekly ballet and Irish dancing classes. Over the next decade, I partook in everything from jazz, to tap, to modern, to ballroom. I performed on stage and everything. I was fit as a kid because of it but I never saw dancing as exercise as it was fun.

Swimming was also a childhood love of mine as well as dancing, my family referred to me as a "fish" in the water. I won countless gold medals in galas in primary school. I swam for a brief period in secondary school but ended up hating it due to body confidence issues and paranoia - I only properly got back into it this year (more on that later).

Diet-wise, my family aren't particularly healthy. I developed a phobia of fruit at a young age; yep, it's as weird as it sounds. I refused to eat any fruit in its original form but I could still consume it via juice or smoothie (it still remains like this to this day). I find even the thought of a piece of fruit touching me absolutely sickening and it's something that most people don't understand or empathise with - I'm weird, I know haha. I had quite bad OCD and "habits" (as my Mum would call them) as a child and this is one habit that has never seemed to shift! It's become a tad bit of complication food-wise as so many health recipes and the likes include so much fruit; I try and consume smoothies and pure juice as much as I can but I don't see myself chomping into an apple anytime soon being honest.

I've never had a raging sweet tooth and opted for stationary over sweets anytime I received pocket money when I was younger, however I was never brought up on what you would see as a healthy diet. I don't come from a wealthy or an even consistently "comfortable" background so sometimes the money just wasn't there to eat fully-organic or even fresh food. I was brought up by my amazing, young Mum on her own so she did what she could with what was there and I was never without. In saying that however, one of the most difficult things I've found in regards to health and fitness is breaking habits. I was brought up on a lot of processed food so I found getting out of the habit of eating it daily was difficult and still is.

Genetics-wise, both sides of my family are slim-enough. Nobody is madly overweight, apart from one or two beer bellies here and there so weight as such has never been a huge issue for me. I'm built more or less the exact same as my Glam Nan - petite in height (I'm 5"2.5), small-chested and a size UK 6-8 on top and slightly bigger on the bottom being a size UK 8-10 with a full-enough bum.

Since my underbite surgery last year, a lot has changed for me mentally and physically. Up until April of last year, I was a strict pescetarian (meat-free diet but I ate fish the odd time) for 4 years. My liquid diet after my jaw surgery involved not being able to eat anything solid for 2 months and everything, and I mean everything, had to be liquidised until it was like water. I was consistently hungry and craved food 24/7 - especially meat. I hadn't suffered ANY meat cravings until then. I terrorised myself by watching episodes of Man VS Food daily and all I could think about was meat. After a long, hard and emotional think - I decided to start eating meat again. Purely for health reasons, as I was now down to a size UK 4-6 and looked emaciated. My first meat-meal in 4 years was a liquidised bowl of stew and I kid you not, my energy soared after the first spoonful. (All info, photos, blog posts and vlogs on my underbite surgery can be found here.)

Most recent body photos - please note better ones will be posted in the future as I go on but these are just to get me started.
However, as 2013 went on, I noticed I didn't automatically go back to my original frame. Due to the liquidised diet, eating meat again and a change of contraceptive pill, I had put on a bit of weight and didn't look toned. I noticed it mostly around my thighs, waist and stomach areas. My usually-flat stomach was now slightly puffed out more than usual after I ate, again nothing hugely noticeable except to me and I was really quite conscious of it. Between those factors, my surgery and a highly stressful move overseas and move back home within a year, everything took its toll on my body and mind during 2013.

2014 arrived and my weight still remained - I wasn't happy with how I looked and I surely wasn't happy with how I felt. I felt a tad lost in regards to exercise, health and diet changes and I felt really overwhelmed by it. I'm the type of person who won't dedicate energy into something if my interest isn't 100% there so it took up until early this Summer to really give myself the kick up the ass to start a healthier and happier life.

I re-read The Secret and researched countless articles, blogs and vlogs on a beginner's guide to fitness and health. Within a few weeks, I had started training and shifting my diet around. I won't go into fitness or diet details in this post, I'll wait until post No.2 for that but it was surprisingly easy once I got into the habit of it all. As well as vlogs etc, I started watching documentaries based on food and health - the majority of them being on Netflix. I found seeing the "truth" behind what goes into food and the 21st Century lifestyle really helped set in stone what I was set out to do.

One of the most common misconceptions regarding exercising and diet-change - and I must emphasise this - is for one reason only: to lose weight. This is NOT TRUE! I want to tone up and become a healthy human who doesn't nearly have a stroke each time I've to run for a bus. I want to start controlling my anxiety and have something productive to focus my energy on. I'm in no way claiming I'm overweight, I just need to tone up and build strength in some areas. Slim people can and do need exercise just as much as anyone and everyones' bodies and needs differ. Remember that!

Along with body image and continuous anxiety, my hair, skin and nails were in BITS. No amount of expensive skincare, hair products or supplements can change these things if your insides are full of unhealthy crap. I was determined to improve the 3 by maintaining a healthier diet and of course, with exercise.

I joined a gym in Dublin and picked up a heap of new exercise gear. I found the high-street quite disappointing and only ended up buying a few sports crop tops and bras when I went out. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how amazing a range Irish retailer Littlewoods Ireland had on their website - they kindly gifted me a heap of Adidas and Nike gear; everything from swimming togs to training shoes, to help me on my way. I chose the utmost basics at first; Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 training shoes (so comfortable, like tie-on clouds), a Nike Dri-Fit hoodie, Nike cycling shorts and so on. You'll be seeing a lot more of these pieces on me for the rest of the series and on my Instagram.


I tried and tested out all different kinds of exercise to begin with; intense circuit training, weights, swimming, gym classes and so on and only now am I starting to really find my preferences. I find a gym-atmosphere really suits me, as the general vibe gets me pumped and inspired to go. I'll go into more detail on my exercises in the next post but anything I find to be fun, I love - and stick to! 

I'll do a whole other post on food in the near future but I found diet-change quite difficult; I LOVE food but found I was constantly eating the wrong food and binging on unhealthy grub. I luckily don't have a major sweet tooth but the majority of bad foods I was snacking on were takeaways, carby snacks and heavy pastas. Over a few weeks, I began to cut down on certain foods and switch things up. I have cut down my regular 4/5 cups of black tea (with loads of milk) a day to one, if even, and I tend to drink herbal teas more. I've always loved water but I make sure I  have at least 1 litre per day. I cut down on meat also, red meat especially, as I personally find it hard to digest and I started to eat fish more. Now don't get me wrong; my current diet is nowhere near as healthy as I want it to be and as they say, old habits die hard - I still crave the greasiest of food whilst hungover but I usually talk myself out of it instantly. It takes time to train your brain (and tummy) to adjust.

I've found making easy and realistic changes, slowly, was easier than I anticipated. Trying to do a 100% turnaround would have led to a crash and burn for me completely. I find hat educating and informing yourself on the reality of the world around us benefits you immensely, as well trying and testing out different methods until you find your ideal routine. Fun is key for me and as a self-proclaimed lazy girl, if I can turn my health around - so can you!

I have a long way to go but I thought this introductory post would give you all a little background and insight into me and my current situation. I'll be posting these fitness updates every few weeks or so but I can guarantee Instagram snippets will be posted at least weekly - so make sure you follow me there! I hope this helps anyone in the same or a similar boat as me and inspires you to make some changes. We only have one body at the end of the day so we may as well treat it well.

I'd love to hear about YOUR fitness and health routines in the comments section below! 
How did you start? What made you take up a healthier lifestyles? Have you got any advice or tips for me or anyone else looking to change their ways?
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19 comments

  1. My dad had a stroke 6 years ago and I didn't want to go down that path so I changed my diet and started running but it's quite a lonely way to exercise and felt like a chore after a while.
    I've been doing kettlebell classes for the past 6 weeks and the changes have been amazing. I've anxiety and thought I would hate exercising within a group but it's been a great experience so far so they are definitely worth a try. Best of luck with the rest of your fitness journey.

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  2. My mum was a ballerina and she owns her on school. I've been taking classes for 15 years but I never cared about what I eat. I had to change my eating habits after my exchange program two years ago. It was quite difficult since I came back to my home country with +8kg. Luckily I lost those extra kg in six months. I also started pilates this year and it has been helping me to control my anxiety more than ballet (I thought it was impossible but I was wrong). Can't wait to see your progress! Good luck xx

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  3. I've recently been given the 'time to become healthy' kick up the arse too, and I have to say I'm doing everything pretty similarly to you! The best thing I've found so far is plenty of green tea and taking up exercise classes, so I'm changing up what exercises I'm doing every other day!

    Good luck with the rest of your journey and I can't wait to read the rest of your progress posts.

    <a href="http://lisatakespictures.blogspot.co.uk”>lisatakespictures </a>

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  4. I recently changed my diet and have found that I have so much more energy now, my skin is much clearer and I am bloated a lot less often! These things have helped my anxiety tremendously! I can't wait to feel and look even better!
    I wish you luck on your journey! I can't wait to see your progress.

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  5. Great post. I've lately decided to change my lifestyle as well, i've just entered my 20's and Ii'm unhappy, and I want to look back on my twenties and be happy about it! I think the key is healthy substitutions, not cutting out things you love and crave, but healthyfying them!

    Sophie x

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  6. I've lost two stone by changing my lifestyle. I suppose you really have to get into it and enjoy it! I am a fruit addict and horse the green tea into me! I found this great app called Seven, it's 12 different exercises, in seven minutes! Doesn't take up a huge part of the day. It's intense and works each part of your body, you'll sweat! Also, I do arm lifts, go walking or cycling every single day. Since I started this over 2 years ago, everything has improved so much, body, mind, skin, hair and confidence! Best of luck with getting fit Leanne! :)
    lipstickandlightening.blogspot.ie

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  7. This was an amazing post - I'm an Irish dancer and I'm trying to qualify for the world championships next year, but I've found recently after many health problems that dancing itself isn't enough to keep me fit and healthy anymore so I've done a total exercise overhaul and joined the gym to help with my general fitness both for myself and dance. Four weeks down the line and I'm feeling brilliant! I've also started to tone up some problem areas which is making me much happier with my body.

    My diet however is atrocious - I'm definitely going to have a look at some of those Netflix documentaries about food over the next few weeks! I want to educate myself before I make the changes but I know I need to cut out a LOT of bad things to feel properly healthy again. xo

    www.lucyjlove.blogspot.com

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  8. I've been deliberating making a lifestyle change and I think this post has given me the motivation, I like forward to the rest of the series!

    Courtney x

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  9. Looking forward to the rest of this series, Leanne.

    Totally agree with exercise being for other reasons apart from losing weight. Although I'm not lucky enough to be slim like you, I choose to exercise primarily for my health (I have Type 1 diabetes) and to keep my mind stable!

    Slow and steady changes are definitely the way to go with eating. I need to teach myself that :)

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  10. This post was so interesting to read. I usually get put off by long posts but yours definitely keep me reading! I was like you about two years ago, though I did a similar thing and got myself into a routine of eating healthy things, cutting out takeaways and exercising atleast 1-2 times per week doing something I enjoy. Now i'm 4 stone lighter and feel great! I hope you do well on your journey to becoming more healthy!

    Love Emma xx

    www.collagemepretty.blogspot.co.uk

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  11. I've told myself countless times that I'm going to get into shape and start eating better, but every time I do it lasts about a week and then I take a "break" cause I've totally done enough. I really hope you continue with this series as it will be super nice to see another "lazy girl" doing it, and hopefully inspire me to stick to it!

    letitiaharriet.blogspot.com

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  12. I use this great app called 10K runner which is brilliant for building up your stamina and fitness until you can run 10k even from being a complete beginner! I hate running but this app is so good. It tells you when to run and when to walk and gives you little awards and inspirational quotes every time you run. There's also a whole series you can get like 5k runner and various strength apps as well all designed to build up fitness. I'd definitely recommend!

    je-suisalice.blogspot.com

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  14. This post really got me thinking about changing my lifestyle around. I've been to the gym a few times before and like you've mentioned, the atmosphere is a lot more motivating!

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