20 July 2016

It's been a while.....

So much for wanting to do a daily update on my attempts to get fit.....

My last post was on 20 June 2016, so despite breaking my promise about that, I have actually done the exercise. I know, I surprise myself sometimes.

I am already committed to reformer pilates classes on Saturday and Sunday mornings, which I've been doing since mid-February 2016, but I wanted to add to that with some sort of weight-bearing exercise and to be able to keep up my walking activity at least 7,000 - 10,000 steps a day.

Last month, I joined my local leisure centre and I have been able to link my attendance and activity there to the exercise that is being recorded by my Jawbone UP2 fitness tracker. I've also linked both to Bounts, so basically any exercise earns me points which I can swap for shopping vouchers in the future, so win-win.

I now go to the gym at least 3 times a week; 30 minutes dedicated to weights and a further 30 minutes on cycling or walking. I spoke to an instructor at pilates and a PT at the gym and neither recommend that I take up running again as it will just damage my knee further, so I've accepted their advice and kept to a maximum of speed walking.

I have to add that the recommendation by the osteopath take up pilates was brilliant. I have never enjoyed exercise so much. In addition, you can spend half the class lying down which rather suits me! ( I jest but you do!). I think the fact that I have to focus for an hour every session means I've got better core strength and lost inches on my upper arms and calves though I can't say the same for my 'wide load' bottom or my thighs. It just seem that losing weight in my late 30s was so much easier than losing it now, for instance trying to lose the fat around my middle seems nigh on impossible but that's a whole other blog post topic.

I think the time has come for me to give as much attention to my diet as I have been to exercise. I have a fairly healthy diet but I maybe need to review what I am doing and identify what will help me lose the fat.

The most important thing is I'm feeling good about myself. Job hunting is slow to dire but the sun is shining and despite world events, all is well in my world.

Until next time.....

20 June 2016

Here we go again.....

I'm finally in the right mindset to take my exercising and 'get fit' regime to the next level.

Having lost 1 stone over a three month period from Feb to May this year, through healthier eating (can't give up the chocolate yet) and taking reformer pilates classes twice a week, I've decided I need to up my game and do more exercise.

I'm back contracting again and whilst I am job hunting, I have set myself a few challenges:

  • To walk more - I'm averaging 7,000 steps a day but need to hit 10,000 per day.
  • To do Couch to 5K again (C25K) - one session in and I'm still alive.
  • To try some new classes. This morning I took a spin class. My knees won't cope with the standing up exercises that everyone else seemed to manage but the instructor was very supportive, checking in with me during the class to see if I was coping okay, which was very encouraging.

My target for the next 12 weeks is to lose another 1 stone or at least the fat around my middle. I reckon slow but sure is the name of the game and one dress size smaller would be rather nice bonus.

I'll be posting brief missives each day, more as a record for myself, as encouragement to keep going.

I'm not a natural exerciser* (*lazy) but I've been inspired by Gem Reucroft (@hr_gem) and by her fab book Memoirs of a Former Fatty: How one girl went from fat to fit (read in one sitting and a great read) and by my chum Amanda Arrowsmith (@pontecarloblue) and her incredible efforts to lose weight and get fit, which you can read about here.

More tomorrow :)

14 June 2014

Pretty White Female - How Beauty Can Appeal to Every Woman - #beautyproject at Selfridges

A couple of months ago, I was excited to see Selfridges promoting their big summer beauty event, The Beauty Project.

It's been a six week programme of what Selfridges describe as "pioneering talks, interactive debates and immersive beauty experiences" and what tour de force it's been.

I have enjoyed seeing and meeting some of my favourite beauty experts, writers and bloggers, sharing their experiences and inviting debate about a range of beauty topics from body art to ageing gracefully (or in my case probably disgracefully!)

Sali Hughes hosted the discussion entitled Pretty White Female – How Beauty Can Appeal to Every Woman. In this talk, Sali asked such questions to a panel including Health & Beauty Director of Women’s Health magazine, Anita Bhagwandas, BBC Radio 1 presenter Gemma Cairney and founders of multicultural beauty site, thandiekay, the actress Thandie Newton and make-up artist and Beauty Director of Lula magazine, Kay Montano

Sali posed questions such as 'Are beauty brands doing enough for non-white women?' and "Are there enough women of colour in the media and beauty industry?". I was excited to hear Thandie's views having watched her inspiring TED Talk - 'Embracing otherness, embracing myself', in which she shared her experience of growing up as a mixed race child in Cornwall, and she didn't disappoint.

It was lovely to see an audience representative of many different cultures and backgrounds who participated in a lively debate about the lack of representation of WoC in women's magazines and feeling excluded by cosmetic and beauty companies.

Each of the panellists described their experiences through life of feeling 'otherness', of not feeling represented and not having role models with whom they could identify. 

It was moving to hear Anita’s story of how a teenage mishap with foundation, caused by limited choice at the time coupled with being sold a wholly unsuitable product, motivated her to become a journalist and writer and now beauty editor, allowing her to work from the inside out to influence and change perceptions of what WoC want.

I was especially buoyed by Thandie’s suggestion that women of colour take a positive approach to this by voting with their feet by supporting brands that are inclusive (shout out to my personal favourites MAC and Bobbi Brown and one new to me, Becca) and using the power of social media to champion the most inclusive brands and call out, in a positive way, those that could do better. 

As Sali said, beauty brands are in the business of making money and that if brands offered a greater range of colours more widely and took time to promote them for longer, women would see more choices, develop a loyalty for the brands and generate the sales they desire. 

Kay said that beauty professionals, such as herself, have a duty to promote more non-white models and use their influence to redress the balance.

I was saddened by Gemma's comments that she has struggled dealing with the pressure of fitting the traditional “Caucasian” mould but the quote of the evening that has stuck with me was Thandie's comment that we should be proud of our individuality;

'You are everything you need to be without doing anything to yourself''.

It was most enjoyable evening, gave me food for thought about confidence, self-worth, the need for positive role models and how much influence the consumer really has.

What do you think? Are non-white women fairly represented in the beauty media or by beauty brands?

I'd love to hear your thoughts here or via twitter using #beautyproject.