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A few months ago I set myself a challenge, I wanted to test some of the theories about building a ‘better body’ I saw floating around the internet. I wanted to see how calorie counting, carb cycling and lifting weights could change me (if at all) and I’m so happy and proud to share my journey.

This all started with a  photo of me in a bikini, a photo I felt uncomfortable posting and the start of a long hard journey of personal acceptance.

If you note one thing about this post, please let it be that I GAINED so much more than I lost.

*I learnt that carb cycling is hard work – Naturally some days I just eat lower carb than others but having to really focus on those macros became tiring. My logic of eating 1,750 calories on ‘rest days’ failed miserably as the week’s went on, I was hungry and needed more fuel.

*Less is more when it comes to running – During the last few months I’ve set a new Park Run record, a new 10km record and much to my absolute delight I managed 7 miles in an hour. That has been something I’d wanted to achieve for such a long time, and it felt incredible to finally set that time/distance record.

Obviously this won’t apply to all runners but I was running ‘junk miles’ and not really focusing on pushing during my runs. Therefore I chose to run less but really focus when I am running on hitting a certain time/distance target than the ‘run so that I can eat some cake’ logic I occasionally fell into.

*Fit is not a weight or a size – I am so pleased that finally people are starting to see past the whole ‘that person is slim therefore they must be fit’ logic and understanding that ‘fit’ is not a weight or a dress size.

My weight has increased to 10 stone and my body fat has dropped down, I’m now at a point where I don’t want to lose any more fat, as the week’s go by I’m becoming more content with my change in weight and body shape. I’ve noticed my thighs are a little larger but so much stronger than before and that is reflected in my running and lifting ability.

Social media can be tough at times; I’m hesitant to admit this however there has been many moments I’ve seen women with higher body fat than me and much leaner, more defined bodies. I’m going to be completely honest and say that I’ve felt pangs of envy.

I shake off that crazy state of mind, I eat what feel’s right, continue weight training and running, then all of a sudden none of my silly comparisons matter as my body has started performing better than ever before.

At the end of the day, I won’t look back on what the scales said or how I looked in a bikini, I’ll look back and smile about those times I set personal bests…

*Photos can LIE – We all know that social media is a photo reel of the best part’s we want people to see, I naively had no realisation about how heavily edited this can be. I made a promise to myself, my readers and my social media followers that I would ALWAYS be honest if my photo had a filter or was taken first thing when I was dehydrated.

I understand that I can smooth out my skin, nip in my waist and change the colour of my eye’s before pressing ‘share’ but why would I? Does this help anyone? Surely honesty is always the best policy?

Recently I read a post by Mrs B and she linked to this article which left me feeling…sad, disappointed and questioning popular social media personalities..

Prior to starting this I’d mainly avoided posting selfies and many photos of me, I was caught up in the moment that people didn’t really want or need to see me. Then I realised it’s important to put a face to the name, that people actually like to see the blogger.  Just because I’m not young and outstandingly hot like Zanna or Hazel, it doesn’t mean my face will scare small children or readers (I hope).

Here’s my latest photo, it WAS taken first thing, I am dehydrated and I’ve posted with and without a filter because that really is important.

Before and afterr

MFP/Calorie Counting is hard –  Oh folks, you know it’s not fun – Have you ever seen how little 15g of peanut butter is? Le sigh…

Unfortunately, it was a hugely important part of this challenge and it has really helped me understand my nutritional needs, I’m not going to imply for a single moment it’s easy or fun. I had a habit of forgetting what I’d added, I quickly became tired of endlessly grabbing the scales and having to search to find the right product or scan a barcode.

Fortunately for me, I had set my calories to a level that suited my activity level rather than the ‘suggested’ amount and I have tried/enjoyed new recipes and foods. When changing your body don’t feel ‘afraid’ to eat up, good nutrition is your friend, carb’s will help you hit that personal best and fat is essential.

My Journey is not over – Call me crazy? Call me weird…? I am now extremely sure that I *can* continue to improve, I’m focused, I’m feeling encouraged and I’m motivated.

What am I aiming for? I’d love to to maintain my current shape and improve my fitness, I want to increase my running speed, become stronger and improve my core strength. I have my struggles, but I’m in a great mental place right now and I’d like to keep this up as it’s a massive part of overall well being. I know it goes without saying but I cannot stress the importance of being well rested, well fuelled and the regular natural high of working out enough.

Previous posts

You can read all the posts here:

*Part One  *Part Two *Part Three 

Talk to me: What are you current aims? Do you even set aims? Ever get caught in the comparison trap?