Overcoming Boredom Eating: Part 2

So, you read my super-simple solution to solve boredom in part one of this blog, which was “distract yourself with something that isn’t eating, which gives you a dopamine hit”. Simples!


Despite the simplicity of this advice, it does work some of the time.  Sometimes you just need to ask yourself if you’re hungry or just bored.  Environmental boredom often can be an easy fix.  But not always.  Yes, you may be able to distract yourself for half hour by opening a book or having a quick shag, but after the novelty of change has worn off the snacks are still calling to you… “Dominique, come eat us, our doughnut-goodness is exactly what will cure your agitation”.  Noisy fucking baked goods.


If this sounds familiar, then read on to discover why simply changing your environment may not always work to stop your boredom eating.  You’ll learn there are other reasons why white knuckling it and ignoring your cravings won’t work long-term. 


The first thing you need to consider, is that you might not be overeating just because you’re bored.  The issue might be a little deeper set than that.


In part one, I told you why food is an effective soothing tool for many people.  It’s the first thing – apart from our Mother’s arms – that makes us feel safe and well cared for.  Many people get soothed just as well throughout adulthood, just like hanging onto an old blankie or teddy bear.  But it’s not just this initial attachment that creates this emotional attachment to food.  Societies spend years cementing it in our psyche.


When you were a baby, you had this eating malarkey nailed.  You ate when you were hungry and stopped when you were full.  You ate precisely the right number of calories for your energy and growing needs, without having to count a single one.  But as you grew up you were systematically taught to ignore the chemical signals which control your eating habits.  Your parents subconsciously taught you to connect food to other emotional needs not just your primal hunger ones.  Hunger and fullness no longer became your only cue as to when to eat.


“If you’re good you can have a lollipop.”

 

“Oh honey, you scraped your knee, have some chocolate.”

 

“If you punch your brother one more time then there’s no dessert for you.”

 

“Finish all your vegetables and then you get to have jelly.”

 

Food was used to shut you up when you were sad, and as praise when you were good.  We retain this strategy as adults.  Food is still used for all kinds of celebrations like holidays, birthdays, celebratory meals, anniversaries.  When you want to feel good, you ‘treat’ ourselves with food and you likely still commiserate by eating when life sucks monkey balls, although now the problems are more ‘adult’ than scraping your knee.


But it’s not just your happy and sad emotions that get tapped into with food.  It’s all of them, and most of us have developed shitty strategies when it comes to dealing with our emotions.  Your parents were probably like mine, and told you things like…


“Awe you fell over.  Come on, it doesn’t hurt that much.  Don’t cry.”

 

“I have no sympathy for you, I told you not to climb up on the cabinets.”

 

“Why are you scared?  It’s only a spider.”

 

“You’re bored?  Play a board game or do you want lunch?”

 

Oh yes, my friends, we are effectively encouraged to dull our ‘negative emotions’.  But I don’t blame my parents, and neither should you. Parents do all they can to protect their kids and try to reduce their painful experiences.  If you have kids, you probably do the same thing with them. 


We tend to carry this behaviour into adulthood as well as our punishment and reward strategies.  I was having a conversation recently with a friend who told me that she never lets her kids “see the cracks” in her.  And I’m sure you have a constant stream of memes telling you “When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine”.  We are a generation of adults who try to positive our way through life.


But why?  Dulling ‘bad’ emotions might make you feel better for a short time. But they’re vital to us.  Our primal ancestors wouldn’t gave survived without them…


·       Crying produces pain-killing chemicals and signals to the other humans that you need support and comfort.

·       Anger allowed cavemen to protect their tribe and fight others.

·       Fear activated our fight, flight or freeze triggers.

·   Boredom meant that the creative bit of our brain got triggered so we were more likely to solve problems, or evolve our thinking, or discover something new.


So what if we are experiencing these emotions?  If you’re bored you absolutely do have the choice to go and get food, or to do something else to stop this emotion in it’s tracks.  You could turn on the TV or get a beer.  But what would happen if you allowed yourself to be bored?  What would happen if you allowed your boredom to tell you what it needs you to learn?


Did eating your way through boredom or anger or sadness work for you long-term, or is it time to change your strategy?


Next time you find yourself craving food in response to emotion, not just boredom, but any emotion, just pause.  Ask yourself what problem food is solving for you then and there.  The answer might be as simple as “My husband was being a dick last week and I didn’t tell him how much he pissed me off… I really should tell him that what he did annoyed me”.


Sometimes the answer might be deeper or more hidden.  There may not be a quick solution to resolve it.  Deeper and more intensive techniques to overcome these emotions might be needed, and I go into them in my Anti-Fitness Project courses.  But for now, just being mindful when you reach for food instead of feeling the feels is helpful.  When you bring something to your conscious mind it opens up the possibility of moving through it.  Ignoring it and pushing it down with food will only leave it ready for you to deal with another day.  Often taking time to be still – which many of us don’t do – is enough to allow your brain to create solutions.


Coping with and learning from your emotions is a long-term practice.  Sometimes you are going to smash it, and other times Maltesers or vodka is going to be a preferable option.  And that’s fine.  Just make sure that each decision you make is a mindful choice.


If, having said all of that you’re like “Oi!  I feel every single emotion and am excellent at working through them, but I’m still bored as hell and need to eat all of the food.”  Then maybe you need to work through our final type of boredom.  Chronic boredom. 


Have you ever felt like an observer to life?  Like life is happening to you rather than you actively engaging and taking control of it.  You have a passive expectant hope that your external world will come up trumps and make your life more satisfying.  Maybe your life isn’t rollercoaster-crazy enough for you at the moment.  Or maybe it’s the opposite and you have too much to lose if you fucked it up, so you stay playing small and safe.


If this is you, then newsflash… food isn’t going to satisfy you because it’s not food that you want.  The problem is you don’t know what you want.  And because you have had so many failed efforts to solve your boredom, you feel permanently blocked, constrained and agitated but not able to articulate why.  If you don’t know what you really want then you will reach for anything that you know will satisfy you, even in the short term.  And that normally means instant gratification tools such as food, alcohol and drugs.


Eckhart Tolle said it best when he said “Being in touch with the body helps greatly because the body knows what it needs.  Overeating happens because it is part of the ego’s [primal mind’s] unconsciousness, which seeks to substitute for the sense of aliveness”. 


It is possible to live with this type of boredom.  Maybe you do.  Maybe you work at a job that bores you, a relationship which doesn’t quite match what you hoped for, quite probably everything is just OK.  If this is you and you are fine with being OK, then awesome.  I hope it all works out well.  But maybe your soul wants something more, and that’s why you can’t shake the niggling boredom.  Maybe the deathbed version of you would regret not having lived something more?  Something more than just OK?


The good news is, if you want more, you can start working on fixing it. 


I recently read a quote which really resonated with me and I reckon it belongs here: “Your body isn’t a masterpiece, your life is”.  Why not spend your time trying to understand what masterpiece your present boredom is trying to subtly push you to create?  Spend time working out what it is that would make your soul sing.  Only you know what this might be, but I can help ease you in the right direction and teach you how to discover what your soul is begging you to do if you need a less subtle prod.


You can start this process by looking at your life as it is and seeing what parts of it make you happy.  What aspects of your life annoy you or bring you sadness, anger or regret?  Do you even know what your core values are? 


Most of us feel at odds with ourselves when we are doing life in a way which doesn’t match our core values – relationships are never harmonious enough, jobs never satisfying enough, and friendships and hobbies never quite entertain us enough.  You can start this process today by considering what your values are, for example mine are fun, learning and ambition.  I have included a list of common core values at the end of this blog.  Take a look and highlight your top three.  Once you’ve done that, see how you can honour them more in your life.  For example, I make sure that I read non-fiction educational books every day, I also make sure that I do something which makes me laugh.


Changing your life and permanently end chronic boredom takes time and effort.  I should know, I’ve done it a few times in my life as my identity has evolved.  But make a start today and see what changes happen in your life.  Because when you can start to take control of the root cause of your boredom rather than papering over the cracks, you’ll find you’ll have less need to indulge in behaviours such as overeating to ‘fix’ your problems.



You’ve got this, you beautiful weirdo.  And don’t forget, I’ve got you and I’m here to help if you need it.


Dominique

(The Anti-Fitness Trainer)


P.S. Here’s the list of core values:


·       Authenticity

·       Achievement

·       Adventure

·       Authority

·       Autonomy

·       Balance

·       Beauty

·       Boldness

·       Compassion

·       Challenge

·       Citizenship

·       Community

·       Competency

·       Contribution

·       Creativity

·       Curiosity

·       Determination

·       Fairness

·       Faith

·       Fame

·       Friendships

·       Fun

·       Growth

·       Happiness

·       Honesty

·       Humor

·       Influence

·       Inner Harmony

·       Justice

·       Kindness

·       Knowledge

·       Leadership

·       Learning

·       Love

·       Loyalty

·       Meaningful Work

·       Openness

·       Optimism

·       Peace

·       Pleasure

·       Poise

·       Popularity

·       Recognition

·       Religion

·       Reputation

·       Respect

·       Responsibility

·       Security

·       Self-Respect

·       Service

·       Spirituality

·       Stability

·       Success

·       Status

·       Trustworthiness

·       Wealth

·       Wisdom

Chocolate Won’t Solve the Pandemic

We may all be on our #HomeRetreats doing our bit to help flatten the pandemic curve, but goddamn it, humans are smashing it right now… mostly because everyone is bored as hell.  In the last week I have seen some incredible dance routines; watched the combat juggling world finals; tried a weird squirty cream challenge; seen home haircuts and hair colouring, cat traps, zoom meeting fails, and some damn cute quarantine flirting and dating.


But the number one activity many are engaging in to help deal with the tedious job of not going out, is boredom eating.  Apparently, working from home without raiding your fridge every 10 mins is harder than anyone first imagined.


At first, I contemplated setting up a 12-step programme… “hello everyone, my name is Dominique and I can’t leave Chocolate Digestives alone”.  But then I figured that it was probably quicker to just tell you how to stop eating your way through boredom in a blog post.  Why do so many of us turn to food when we’re bored, and is there any way to stop it?  Or are we doomed to eat our body-weight in Oreos and Hula Hoops every day we spend in isolation?


According to John Eastwood in his research paper “The Unengaged Mind: Defining Boredom in Terms of Attention”, there are a few reasons why people get bored, one of which is the cognitive theory of boredom, and it is surprisingly easy to solve.


This type of boredom happens during times like when you are on your fifth straight episode of “Tiger King” and your mind starts wandering.  You know full well that you are not hungry, but you can’t get the chocolate biccies or that family bag of Cheetos out of your mind.  The problem is that your brain is no longer engaged with Joe Exotic and “fuckin’ Carol Baskin” – the show is no longer stimulating enough to keep your attention (a crazy premise, I know).


When your environmental stimulation no longer matches your mental arousal needs, the likelihood is that you will get bored.  It may be that the activity initially was interesting but at some point, your needs changed.  Or it may be that the task was ridiculously dull to begin with, like doing your taxes.  You need to be a special sort of person to find that exciting.  It may even be that you’ve picked something to do which far exceeds the level of arousal that your brain can handle, like choosing “War and Peace” for some light reading, or attempting a recreation of the “Mona Lisa” when all your mind is up for is the colour by numbers app.


Lucky for you, we can make this type of boredom easy to deal with.  All we need is a change in our environment.  We need to find a way to stimulate our brain to the correct level.  And we can get away with replacing the bored feeling with a biological chemical, dopamine, in the form of instant gratification.


Instant gratification is a throwback to our caveman days.  It ensured that we accomplished tasks that guaranteed our survival, like find food, or have sex.  And it did that by flooding our brains with dopamine when we did this stuff again and again.  Our species wouldn’t have lasted long if we were satisfied forever with one good meal, or one decent orgasm.  And we can still trick our brains out of uncomfortable feelings like boredom, by giving it instant happy feelings.  Some of us choose technological solutions like the TV or social media for this dopamine hit, but the classics – food and sex – still work.


Food is a common go-to instant gratification strategy to help take us away from uncomfortable feelings.  And it’s not hard to see why.  Apart from our Mother’s touch, food was the first thing that comforted us: we cried, we got fed, we stopped crying.  For many, that process is just as soothing now: we feel uncomfortable, we open the fridge, we are comforted and satisfied.  We do this repeatedly because as a solution, it works really fucking well.  So, show yourself some compassion – you picked a winning strategy… your subconscious brain doesn’t care that it might not be a strategy that your logical mind actually enjoys repeating, all it cares about is that it works to stop you feeling uncomfortable.  And don’t forget, you could have picked way more destructive ways of preventing boredom than snacking… you could be reaching for a 10am vodka, or mainlining heroin.


Most personal trainers and dieticians would tell you that in order to stop using food to solve your boredom problem, you just need to distract yourself with a different form of instant gratification.  Try switching on the TV, scrolling through your phone, throw your partner onto the sofa and get midday-frisky, take a bath, or read a book.  Do whatever it takes to make your environment different and stimulating again.


But there’s another reason why your body turns to food first when you need a change of scenery, and often, it’s a PT or dietician’s fault… You’re starving!  Being on a diet is technically starving yourself of calories, because if you eat fewer than your body needs, then (in theory) you will use your body fat to make up for this deficit.  And like a mechanic going through a checklist of faults when your car won’t start, your primal brain does the same when it senses you feel uncomfortable.  Your hunger is a nice quick fix for the brain to see if that makes you feel better, like if the mechanic were to top up your oil… just in case that’s the problem.  Deprivation leads to cravings and binge eating, especially in times of emotional uncomfortableness.  Maybe the boredom you are feeling is genuinely your body’s way of saying “Oi! I need a change of environment, and that change is that I actually see some goddamn food”.  Feed it and see what happens, in fact, even better than that, make sure you are consistently giving your body enough good quality food to sustain the level of activity you do each day.  1200 calories is not enough food for anyone.


Weight loss coaches may also tell you to eat something ‘healthy’ to alleviate boredom hunger without adding too many calories to your day.  But when you are dying for a sugary Mars Bar to hit that spot, carrot sticks are not going to cut it.  It’s no wonder you are still craving food 20 minutes later.  Do your body a favour, respect what it’s asking you for and feed it that the first time round.  You’ll probably find – even if you are on a diet – that you’ll eat fewer calories giving your body what it really wants that first time around.


But then again, maybe you’re not hungry.  Did you even think to ask yourself what it is that you want?  If your initial reaction to boredom is “ooh, I need snacks”, then maybe take a second to question that thought.  Ask yourself if you really are hungry.  If the answer is no, then pick something more resourceful to do, use any of the suggestions above or pick anything else that makes you happy.  Get used to checking in with every part of your body.  Many of you are under the false impression that you need to do everything that your brain tells you.  But in the same way as you can restrain yourself from punching your boss in the face when your mind says “hit the bastard”, you can also tell your thoughts that they are wrong.  You are not hungry you are just bored.


That was the simple solution for you, and for many of you that will be enough.  But if you need something a little deeper then you’ll probably want to keep reading.  Because how about if you can’t stop eating?


You see sometimes snacking is a perfectly acceptable solution to your problem.  But it becomes a problem that you might want to try fixing when eating becomes your go-to solution every time you feel bored, or every time you have any feeling that you don’t enjoy.


In his paper, John Eastwood and his peers study boredom in great depth and concluded that as well as simple environmental reasons, there are some more existential reasons why we get bored.  Knowing these can help you turn your boredom into a useful tool to help build an incredible life, and I want to share these with you if the simple solution to boredom above just won’t cut it.  I also want to share with you some techniques to stop eating if, like I described above, eating has become a solution to uncomfortableness that you use more often than you’d like.


So if you’re ready to be move on to the next step… click to part 2 of this blog.

I hope to see you there, you beautiful, brave weirdo.



Dominique

(The Anti-Fitness Trainer)

Who Even Am I?

I was going to release a course before Christmas.  The moral of this tale is that I’m not going to finish it.  Something still feels a little jarring.  Something with what I am


doing doesn’t feel quite right.  Like a jigsaw that’s almost done but your dickhead dog has eaten the last piece.  I’d literally recorded half of it.


You know that feeling of restlessness and unease?  Where you don’t feel particularly comfortable no matter what you do?  I feel that right now multiplied by 100.  And I know what it means.  I have had this exact feeling twice before.  The first time was when I knew I’d outgrown my sports centre job and wanted to open my own gym.  And the second time was when I closed my gym and I realised that I didn’t want to be part of the fitness industry as it currently operates.


So I have a couple of choices now.  I can either force a piece from another puzzle into the last spot just so that I can say it’s finished.  Or I can wait for the dog to do what dogs do best and put a shit piece in the gap (all puns intended in that metaphor).  Or I can leave the fucking jigsaw unfinished and just see what happens next.


So welcome to my unfinished jigsaw.  I’m hoping that you’ll hang around for whatever ride happens next.  Because for the first time ever I don’t have a destination.  But I’m OK with that.  Every time I’ve felt this way before has resulted in a massive evolution of my thinking.  And I can feel that this is going to be the same.  I just don’t know what it will evolve into yet.


But to help me out I’m going to use this whole piece of writing as a brainstorm with you.  It might be messy and unorganised but I’m fine with that.  Maybe it will help me figure out how I got here and what will happen next…


You see, I think I had a pretty standard upbringing for a middle-class white girl, and of course this included societal beauty standards and a healthy fear of food. This usually demonstrated itself to me with comments like…


“Don’t eat too many sweets or you’ll get fat.”

 

“No you can’t get down from the table until you’ve finished everything on your plate.”

 

“You can’t possibly be hungry, you’ve just had lunch.”

 

“Ooh look at Sue down the road… she’s put on some weight.”

 

“I can’t wear that top, it shows off my bingo wings.”

 

“Ugh, I had such a bad day so I’m going to have [insert food or alcohol here]”.


I’m pretty sure that you heard the same kind of things in varying ways.  The well-meant comments that actually veiled some proper disordered thinking around food and body image.  It’s so common in Western society that we don’t really hear it how fucked up it is any more.


Conversely I was brought up with an excellent view on moving my body.  Weekends were all about the fun and more often then not that meant moving.  Whether it be bike rides, or football, or tennis, or swimming I was always doing some kind of active shit.


I suppose the combination of a love of exercise and a fear of food meant that being a personal trainer was kind of inevitable.  And so I dedicated my professional time to being one of us special folk who “saves the nation’s health”.  Yes, that meant a job in fitness.


I have worked in and around the fitness industry since I was 16.  That’s 20 fucking years ago!  But don’t worry, I wasn’t just saving people and grabbing my paycheck.  I actually learned some important things along that journey too.  I learnt that…


  • Personal trainers are – on the whole – amongst the most judgmental people I have ever met. But they kind of have to be.  Their job is to make you look a specific way.
  • The fitness industry pretends it is all about your health. It’s not.  It knows it’s not.  It’s about making you thin.  You are allowed to be body confident and be a little fat, as long as you are dedicating your time to making yourself thinner.
  • They make more money if you don’t achieve your goals. People turning up to the gym is actually not that great for business (they create wear and tear on the equipment, theytake up staff time, they might actually get thin and then stop coming in as much).  People signing up for a year and not coming in makes for some pretty good business. Take a look at any gym’s books. They will demonstrate quite clearly that more money is pumped into getting new customers then is spent keeping and looking after the ones that they have.
  • Very few instructors keep up with current studies on health, fitness, and nutrition. Most get their information from the same sources that you do… social media, the news and those goddamn awful Netflix documentaries (if one more person asks for my opinion on “What the Health” or “Game Changers” I will throat punch them).
  • Very few instructors have actually read the science about what they’re telling you. They follow the same accepted wisdom that you do.
  • Being fat is the worst thing you can be.
  • Food is either healthy or not healthy.
  • You can eat and look however you want as long as you actually still follow our rules. And if you fuck up then just call it “bulking” or a “cheat day”.
  • The industry thinks that everyone has a problem that only diet and exercise can fix. And if you aren’t dieting or exercising, then you’re doing nothing.  And why would you do nothing, you have a problem, so fucking fix it.  
  • Trainer’s think that your physical appearance is more important that your mental health and happiness. They think fat instantly means unhealthy.  And so we get to judge the shit out of you for it.  If you are overweight then we think all of your time should be spent being less so.  Because all we think about is food and fitness.  So why don’t you?
  • I thought all of these things. And probably a shit tonne more unhelpful and potentially damaging things.

I think back over my career and I can’t help but feel sad and slightly ashamed.  And if you are a gym instructor and are reading this then I reckon you should too.  Think back to how many times you gave someone information which could be impacting their mental and physical health.


But maybe I shouldn’t feel bad.  After all, I was only doing what was expected of me. But this brings me to my current unease.


The Anti Fitness Project came about because I amfed up.  But quite honestly I didn’t realise quite how pissed off I was until I started it!


Initially all I wanted to tell people was they you don’t have to exercise to get thinner or healthier, and that you can eat whatever the fuck you want and still lose weight. Because, that’s how physics works.  And so I started researching this train of thought.


Now I’m one of those people who always has to be right.  It’s not a good personality trait.  But it does mean that I don’t say anything to anyone unless I have thoroughly researched it first.  And that is exactly what I did with The Project.

Fuck me, what a rabbit hole!


And it is this rabbit hole that has changed not just the way that I am going to conduct my business moving forwards  but also how I do my entire life.  Yup, sounds dramatic I know. 


You see, I have only just scraped the surface of what I am planning to learn.  And every bit of research leads me to something new.  I am determined to share all this shit with you.  Because as well as always being right, I have an annoying personality trait of being as tenacious as my dog when he sees next door’s cat.  If I enjoy a subject then I will learn everything there is to know about it.  Get me interested in bees and I will be the best apiarist you’ve ever seen within a week.


This might sound cocky, but here’s the thing… I am.


And as well as that I am fed up.  I’m fed up of watching the people I love be sad about how they look.  I’m fed up of my friends saying that they’re confident with how they look whilst asking me for diet advice at the same time.  I’m fed up of preaching body positivity whilst having to catch my first thought which is the societal standard of “fat is bad”.


I have been many different versions of myself.  But now I’m ready to evolve to be the next one.


I am the gym owner that is telling you to stop going to gyms.


I am the nutritionist that is telling you that sometimes cheesecake is healthier for you than salad.


I am the personal trainer that is telling you that being fat can be healthier than trying to attain a beauty standard that is made up by society.


I am the woman who is telling you to love your body whilst often looking at my own with disappointment.


I am the cocky mother fucker who often doesn’t feel that confident.


I am the positive happy person who sometimes feels sad, and needs to work more on understanding that that’s ok.


I am the human that after 36 years of listening to blatant lies about our health, happiness and appearance is properly fed up and ready to change that shit.


I have really important things to share with you, a lot of which I haven’t figured out yet.  But I know that I want you to come on this journey with me.  I want to figure all this shit out because I guarantee you that our lives will be better when we learn to release our current paradigm about our own health and happiness.


We can do better than this.  And we will.  Together.



Stay weird, people,


Dominique

(The Anti-Fitness Trainer)

Let Me Explain… Using a Cult Story

All good stories start with a cult.  And this one is no different.


NB: You are about to witness me shoehorning a story about a cult into this blog just because I think it’s a cool tale, so I need to pretend like it was vital to the narrative in order to demonstrate a point about diet and fitness… wish me luck!

 

In the early 1950’s, a Chicago housewife, Dorothy, was convinced that she was receiving messages about an imminent Noah’s Ark style apocalypse, but this time due to UFO’s rather than a dude with a beard.  And in true cult fashion, she convinced a bunch of people that by denouncing their family, friends, jobs and possessions that they could be saved when the moment of destruction arrived.  They were called “The Seekers”.

 

Picture the scene…

11:59pm: Everyone is prepared for their final day on Earth.  Zips and underwire bras have been removed (apparently metal is a big no no during a doomsday flood).  And the moment is nearly upon them.

12:01am: “Ummmmm, Dot?  What the actual fuck?  It’s not even raining let alone wiping out humanity”.

 

And so, it turned out that Dorothy and “The Seekers” (would’ve made a cool band name) were wrong about the end of the world.  Their only option now, surely, was to come out of their basement in shame and profess that they were wrong.   Was it fuck!  Rather than admit that despite all the evidence – I mean, the world is still here, that’s a pretty tough fact to pretend isn’t true – they were wrong and then try to get their jobs, families and CD collections back, good old Dot miraculously received another message from the aliens…


“You guys did such a good job of worshipping us and spreading the word about our awesomeness and scariness that we’ve decided to call off the whole flood thing.  Go, team!”

 

It’s pretty easy for us to sit back and gasp at the sheer laughability of the entire debacle.  But we also kind of forget that we do the same thing.  Every single day.  When a situation arises which is in direct conflict with our beliefs or behaviours, we either lie about it or just plain ignore that it’s happening without being aware most of the time that that’s what we’re doing.


How very mature of us!


I guarantee that you have heard the statistic that 95% of diet and exercise programmes fail in the first five years.  I’m also pretty damn sure that you are part of that statistic.


How many times have you started a diet club, only to lose the same stone of weight over and over again?  How many times have you started an exercise class, or gym membership, or running programme, only to have just a wardrobe full of barely used activewear to show for it?  I can tell you over and over that weight isn’t necessarily a marker for health, nor does your weight define your worth as a person.  But do you throw out your bathroom scales or stop secretly looking at nutrition labels on food, or sub consciously restricting fat or carbs?  


See, we are no better than “The Seekers”.  I can scream the facts at you, in the same way that the cult’s family probably told them aliens didn’t exist so stop being a knob and put your bra back on. 


Maybe on a logical level you want to believe me.  But I know you are still have tempted to part with your cash when “Supplements R Us” reveal their new superfood.  And I know that no matter how many times you say you love your body, that little voice still might be saying “yes, but you’d be happier if you were smaller”.  It’s hard to ignore that little fucker sometimes.


But don’t beat yourself up, you are not to blame for your cult-like thoughts.  The diet, fitness and beauty industries have spent billions of dollars over the years convincing us that we are not good enough as we are.  And that we need “fixing”.  So it’s not surprising that you don’t believe the minimal amount of information available to you which contradicts them.  Hell, even the NHS are convinced that everyone needs to fit into their BMI scale in order to be healthy (despite irrefutable evidence that BMI has no use as a predictor of ill health)


Unfortunately the industries of “you’re perfect as you are”, and “you don’t need to join a gym to get health benefits” don’t quite have the same money behind them!


So what happens when we receive information that is incompatible with our subconscious beliefs, like The Seekers did when the world failed to end?  Facts such as 95% of diets fail, or a crush telling you “I think you’re really hot”.  Well, we can change either our belief, our behaviour or reframe the new contradictory information. 


For example, what happens when your 58th diet this year hasn’t worked… again?


  • THE FACTS = diet and exercise aren’t viable long-term solutions.
  • YOUR CORE BELIEF = diet and exercise are the only real ways to change my body shape, and it’s important that I do so.
  • YOUR BEHAVIOUR = I’ll try yet another diet, or the latest Insta-workout, just in case this one is the one for me.
  • HOW YOU REFRAME ANY NEW INFORMATION – because diet and exercise actually do work it must be my fault that I can’t lose weight. I’m a failure.

Changing beliefs and behaviour is some hard-core work.  We’ve spent our whole lives building them up, and as I said, huge companies have spent years and a shit tonne of cash making sure that we don’t doubt them.  So, our brain normally takes the easy way out and reframes any new information to get it to fit our behaviour and our attitudes.  Just like The Seekers and their reframe that the apocalypse wasn’t a lie and they changed the course of history just by being so awesome. 


Reframing is easier to go along with if your core beliefs are strong enough.  Believing your own bullshit is easy.  It’s much harder to admit to yourself that your view of the world could be wrong.  Back in the caveman days, being wrong normally meant we died.  So it’s usually safer to be right.  And like I keep saying, we are essentially still cavemen, but with smartphones.


Does this mean we are we doomed to follow misinformation and be stuck in the same hamster wheel of new diet, fail, new diet, fail, new diet, forever?


Fuck no.  I wouldn’t leave you like that!


Remember changing a belief system is hard and takes a lot of work.  I can teach you how to do that, but probably not in the space of a blog.    So let’s take the easier route and use our caveman brains to our benefit.  We can use our ability to reframe information as a much quicker and instantaneous fix to stop ourselves believeing our own bullshit.


REFRAMING WEIGHT LOSS, DIET AND EXERCISE:

  • Look at images shown in advertising and ask yourself if they are more worthy than you because of their body shape.
  • Remind yourself with every picture or advert that they have professional stylists, lighting and tailoring to make them look a specific way. How close is that to how they are likely to look in real life.
  • When looking at before and after pictures check out how they are subtly shown to look happier in the after picture, which helps to imply that you’d be more content if you were thinner. This happens in gym and diet advertising too.  I have never seen anyone in real life looking pleased eating a carboard-tasting protein bar.
  • Is a new diet or exercise programme anything special or is it just another way to get you to eat less food, or move your body more?
  • Start to feel sorry for the people who boast about how they haven’t eaten for 6 hours, or about how they almost threw up in their PT session last night. Be pleased that you can feed your body when it asks, and move it in a respectful and healthy way.
  • When you see that Sandra down the road has lost 3 stone on Weightwatchers, remember that this is the 5th time this year she has lost that same 3 stone. And actually you’ve always admired her confidence and presence regardless of what she looks like.
  • Instead of thinking that you’d be happier if you were thinner, remind yourself of a time when you were thinner… were you truly happier then than you are now? Or does something else about from your body fat percentage affect your happiness?
  • Remember that “health” benefits on pre-packaged food are not making that food any more nutritious and are likely to just a way for food companies to sell more product.
  • Practise accepting compliments at face value. Stop looking for ways to reframe to the negative and start believing that they might just be true.
  • Instead of judging your body negatively, start to look for ways to it. Compliment yourself on the bits of you that you like.  And don’t make it all about your appearance.  You are a lot more than a meaty skeleton.

Reframing can be in so many ways to call bullshit on the percieved wisdom that we assume is fact.  The key element is to start to notice when you are subconsciously being drawn into the culture of thin is better, or exercise is a weight loss tool, or that food is good or bad.


The more you practice reframing the “facts” that the diet and fitness industry are spending cash on conning you into believing then the easier you will find it.  The more evidence you can find which contradicts their facts, the less and less likely you are to believe them and therefore the fewer reframes you are going to need to do.  You’ll slowly start to form new beliefs instead.


Remember, your aim in life isn’t to be one of The Seekers.  There are enough people in the diet and fitness cult, they don’t need any more members.  Let’s try not to be in the basement with the crazies, rather let’s be one the sensible folk at the top of the stairs enjoying their lives rather then being terrified of a flood which is never going to happen.



Stay woke you beautiful weirdos.


Dominque

(The Anti-Fitness Trainer)

Fuck Your Summer Body

I spent all yesterday looking at gym adverts so I could create a piss-take video about summer fitness advertising.  The amount of body shaming that they thought was acceptable was both hilarious and terrifying.  And this reminded me of the one of my main motivations for starting The Anti-Fitness Project.


Most gyms spend their entire marketing budget convincing us that we are not enough and cannot possibly be happy as we are.  We all need fixing.  But don’t just take my word (or your own eyes) for this.  Clever people have said it too.


Dr Kate Browne wrote in an article for Girls Gone Strong, that “Traditional fitness marketing is based on the premise that we are not OK as we are, and that exercise is a corrective tool reinforced by violent metaphors”.


Violence to sell exercise?  Hell yes, there is.  How often are we told you can burn calories, incinerate fat, and crush our workouts?  And that we need to challenge, fix and repair our bodies with exercise.


I thought Kate’s article was fucking cool, so I watched her TED Talk.  She brought to my consciousness that all fitness inspiration pictures are playing into a clever bit of psychology.  When we see gym marketing, we are being shown images of people that we either want to look like (the skinny, muscled models), or the fat guys that we don’t want to be like (the sad person on the scales).  Think of these two extremes as a scale of 1-10.  Ten on the scale is what we aspire to be, what we are told is the perfect way to look, and bodies we rate as a one are something to avoid at all costs.


As humans, we can’t help putting ourselves subconsciously on that scale when we see these images.  We can’t help it.  We are designed to compare ourselves to others so that we know where we fit in.  However, the scale is kinda fucked to begin with, as for most of us, getting to be a ten is genetically impossible no matter how much we diet or slog our guts out at the gym.


So, we are being set up to fail by, what is an unattainable ideal for most.  Not even fitness models look like fitness models most of the time.  But yet, we are shamed into thinking that unless we look like they do, then we must strive to achieve it.  How we are now just isn’t valuable enough.


But the gyms are just trying to get us healthy right?  And the best way to do that is to body shame us until we crack and sign up for a membership.  Fuck off is it.  We wouldn’t dream of telling our kids that unless they are as smart as Stephen Hawkins then they aren’t doing good enough, so why is it cool to tell ourselves to keep exercising until we look like we belong on the cover of Women’s Health (please never buy this magazine by the way, body shaming at its best)?


Plenty of studies have been done to show that body shaming is literally the worst way to get people more active.  One found that out of 6100 American’s studied, those who experienced discrimination about their weight were 2.5 times more likely to be overweight after 4 years than their non-discriminated against counterparts.


Body shaming actively puts people off exercise.  After all, what person who puts themselves on the scale as a three out of ten, would actively put themselves into an environment where the clientele is promoted as being all 10’s?


Even the gyms that think they are doing good work by putting images of larger people into their adverts are fucking it all up.  Their posters still insist on telling people how many calories their classes burn, and how their exercise blast fat.  Like this is the most important reason to attend this class.


Maybe the fitness industry needs to stop telling people how they could get thinner and start telling people that they could get healthier.  Oh yes, there are occasional snippets of copywriting about health and stress reduction.  But most of the gym advertising is telling people how they could and definitely should get rid of fat.


And what’s wrong with telling people that exercise is so much more bloody enjoyable if it’s actually fun and sociable?  Not a single competitor in “The Biggest Loser” programme look like they have any fun.  But it’s all cool as long as they look smiley when the scales go down at weigh in time.


But it’s not just posters of fitness models doing their Spin classes that we get to judge ourselves by.  Oh no, the before and after photo lets us compare ourselves to real people too.  Gyms and PT’s announce their skills by showing you pictures of their clients with their amazing weight loss.  It’s a shame that the pictures have no way of conveying whether this reduction in fat has made a difference to their happiness or solved the reasons why they overate in the first place.  Nope it’s all about how dramatic the transformation is.  Who cares about anything else.


I even see gyms offering cash prizes and holidays as a prize for weight loss.  And if you don’t win the cash it’s probably because you didn’t put in enough effort and so don’t really deserve the prize anyway.  After all, losing weight is the most important thing to achieve in life.  Everything including our happiness and what to blame our failures on is tied up in the pesky little (or big) number on the scales.


Fuck that noise.  Who the hell do they think they are.


Our body shape is just that.  The shape of our body.  And if it’s vaguely human shaped then we have as good a chance as anyone of being happy and loving life.  And my idea of happiness does not come from 45mins on a treadmill three times a week.


The main point of exercise and being more active is (or should be) to improve our health.  Not to decrease our body fat.  And here’s the thing, why we exercise is more important than we think.  Research reckons that our motivation for exercise will drastically affect the amount of it that you do.


The University of Carolina showed that women who view their bodies because of how they look are far less likely to exercise than people who judge themselves based on how healthy they feel.  Smith College found that people who exercised to get thinner actually exercised less and had higher incidences of eating disorders and depression, then those who worked out to feel healthier.


So who are the people that work in these gyms, and why aren’t they telling us this stuff?  Well, they are the group of people probably the most body conscious of us all.  Many are willing to get their body fat so low that is damages their health.  Plenty of them have unnatural and destructive food behaviours, counting every macro and calorie to the point of obsession.   


And are these Personal Trainers and exercise class instructors helping us love our bodies for the way that they are?  Hell no, they’re the people shouting “no pain, no gain”, and helping to show us the best exercises when we ask them to help us get rid of our flabby bits. 


I’ve seen many of them completely dismayed when a “fat” client says they don’t want to lose weight.  They just couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t want to look like a fitness model.  I’ve seen them judge clients harshly for their body shape and for the poor effort they think they are putting into their workouts.  And I regularly read in PT Facebook groups stories from panicked trainers that are worried that they won’t get any clients because they “don’t look like a trainer”.  But even more sad, is when all the other PT’s chime in that there’s no way that they can train people until they look fitter.


Thankfully this isn’t all trainers, and some good ones do exist.  But there’s no excuse for any fitness professional to be advocating leanness over wellness.


And so, this all brings me to a question that’s been playing in my head for months now… Why is a person only valuable if their body is thin and lean?  Even if a person is happy, successful, has a great social network, and is generally a bloody good person, they still get comments like “they do still need to lose a bit of weight though”.

 

To me a person’s value is always in what they bring to the world.  If you are healthy you are bringing more.  If you can experience and appreciate all emotions, both happy and sad then you are bringing more.  If you can see life as a positive experience to be grateful for then you are bringing more.


And when we are more positive in our lives then our health (and therefore weight control if that’s your jam) becomes a lot easier to manage.  In my own life I know that I’m at a healthy weight when I am happy with my life.  But I’ve equally been at that point where everything in life just seemed a bit shit.  I was chunky and I was sad.  But I wasn’t sad because I gained weight.  I gained weight because I was sad and stopped giving a shit about how healthy I was being.  And so why aren’t gyms and their trainers teaching us this shit?  Why aren’t they letting us know that being in a mind space where your health is important again is way more important than a huge calorie deficit and smashing your tits off at the gym in a vain attempt to get lean enough to solve all our problems?


Happiness and confidence in our own awesomeness should not come from comparing our body shape to others’.


We all have a right shape.  And not many of our shapes look anything like the people on the gym posters.  So when will gyms sort their shit out and stop making us think that we need to look like them?  We don’t need to lose weight.  We need to get our heads in a positive place and our bodies in a healthier state, and health doesn’t have a specific shape.  It looks different on everyone.  And that is a beautiful thing.


If this has resonated with you and you want to help change the diet and fitness industry for good then please join me on my journey to get them to wake up.  Like and follow my Facebook page, and please send me any gym advertising that you think is perpetuating the body shaming.  Allow me to have a word!


And if you want to start your own journey to health and happiness and looking however you damn well please then stay tuned for details of my “Fuck Your Summer Body” course.  I’ll teach you how to control your exercise and diet so that you can get healthier and get to be your happiest shape, plus I’ll help you keep it sustainable whilst making your life more positive.  Please join me.  It’s like nothing else you’ve ever seen.



And remember, you are beautiful, you bunch of amazing weirdos.


Dominique

(The Anti-Fitness Trainer)

Something Old, Something New

My brother is getting married next weekend.  Amazing!  But this also means that I have had six months of “have you got your outfit sorted yet?” comments from my parents.  My sister’s wedding was easy.  I was a bridesmaid, so I was told what to wear.  Simple.


Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a blog about fashion.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am probably the last person who should be chatting haute couture.


I bought a new waistcoat and trilby for the occasion (yes, I am that kind of lesbian, and I bloody love it), not because I needed new clothes, but because I was specifically told that I couldn’t roll out my go-to “tidy” shirt that I have worn for the last 37 family gatherings.  I wrongly assumed that these new purchases were enough, but apparently, I also must buy a new shirt, trousers and shoes.  What the fuck!  I have so many trousers, a shit load of shoes, and surely a plain black t-shirt is fine? I mean… I have a cool new hat, that should be enough!


I did some gardening today (that turnabout of narrative may have given you whiplash, but stick with me), and wore some combat trousers that I bought when I was 15.  They were from an army surplus store that I doubt even still exists.  And do you know what, they fit perfectly, and only have a couple of holes.  These trousers are 21 years old and I still bloody love them.


So, why are people so easily seduced by the thought of buying something new when the old shit works just as well, sometimes even better?  I am positive that my army surplus khakis are going to outlast whatever new trousers I buy from some shitty Primark or New Look or whatever other clothing store people buy new posh clothes from (can you tell I don’t shop much?).


Think about your smartphone for a second.  How long do they last before the battery gets too fucked to hold their charge, and is glitching bad enough that YouTube is not a possibility anymore?  You’re lucky if you get two years of decent usage. Now compare that to your old Nokia 3310 which had a battery life greater than that of Madonna (maybe not quite that long, that woman has got to be about 107 right?).  Plus, you could launch that brick phone off the top of a cliff and still hear it ring when it hit the bottom.


Don’t get me wrong, some new shit is amazing.  Like Roomba’s. They are worth their existence for the cat videos alone.  Or the joy of opening a new bottle of shampoo (this can’t just be me).  Or that I now have a laptop small enough to fit in my rucksack.  But let’s face it, sometimes the old shit just works better.


And so, to bring this (eventually) to diet and fitness.  I closed my gym almost exactly a year ago.  And in that year, I have lost a whole bunch of body fat.  I achieved this with a brand-new diet, fitness and supplement regime which I first saw on Instagram being promoted by a very thin and hot reality TV star.


Jokes!  Of course it fucking wasn’t.


I have lost around 8kg, a fair few inches, and about 15% body fat because of good old fashioned “stop eating like a twat and get off your ass more often”.


Sometimes old just works better.  Our great grandparents had very few weight issues.  Why?  Because they ate less crap and moved more than we do now.  They didn’t have Joe Wicks or “The Biggest Loser”, but they did OK despite this. Society has conditioned us to consume processed food, drive everywhere, and think that new shit is better than any old shit.  If it ain’t broke, fuck it throw it away and buy something new anyway.


But the laws of physics haven’t changed in a fair while.  Energy in, energy out.  That’s the secret behind fat loss.  Not some newly discovered Amazonian herb, not a new ultra-efficient way of exercising, and definitely not bloody keto.


The science is simple.  The mindset stuff is the shitter.  Yes, I could’ve not got chubby to begin with.  But it was only when I learned to enjoy being me and regained my passion for life that I could remember to do the simple things again.


The good news for you is that I am not hiring an Insta-famous model to promote my programmes.  I don’t need to, and they wouldn’t want to do it anyway.  After all, who in their right mind would promote something that is essentially free to do (oh no wait, people sell intermittent fasting all the time).


Here is the good news…


I am the Anti-Fitness Trainer.  I will help you to see through all this industry bullshit and the “new and shiny” is better bollocks.  But I will also stop you getting in your own way.  You know what you should be doing.  But you’re stopping yourself.  And I can help with why.  So, are you ready to throw on your old khakis rather than buying brand new wedding trousers?  I hope so.  Because if you’re with me then please help me convince my Mum that I don’t need to go shopping again!



Stay weird, people,


Dominique

(The Anti-Fitness Trainer)

No Plastic Diet (Part 2)

I have just finished my first diet challenge.  And it wasn’t a “let’s cut out fat” or “I’m going to start counting diet club points” diet.  Normally strict eating regimes aren’t my thing.  I’m more of a learn to eat what your body needs type girl.  But I decided to start a challenge to eat better both for myself and for the planet.  So I cut out all food that has any plastic packaging for one month (it was actually more like 6 weeks because counting is definitely not top of my skill set).


This blog is a wrap up – no pun intended – of what I learned during my No Plastic Diet challenge…


WHAT I LOVED: The first thing that I discovered when starting this diet, is that it immediately cut out most junk food.  Did you know how hard it is to buy Monster Munch in a paper bag?  It was only in week 2 that I found Take No Wrap, which is a packaging free food shop, and could buy chocolate chips in my own containers, that I perfected my cookie recipe.


Taking out a shit load of crappy food meant that I had to fill this void with more of the good stuff.  And so more fruit and veg was added into my diet.  And most of it was seasonal produce which also reduced the number of food miles that my dinners were travelling.  My normal diet is pretty good anyway, but this made it even better still.


It also unwittingly added a better quality of food.  I’m not even kidding when I say that a loose plum is about twice the size of those in a punnet.  At first it seemed like I was paying more for my food.  But when I actually looked at the quality and quantity, it didn’t actually work out too much more expensive.  Did you know how much meat is in a chicken breast when it’s not pumped with water like the supermarket ones are?


But the most important thing that I learned – and oddly loved – was the amount of extra planning and time that this diet would take up.  Stick with me on this thought thread.  Most people think that our lives are becoming more and more busy and stressful.  I disagree.  I think that busyness has simply become a badge of honour for most, and that we have just forgotten to slow down and enjoy the journey.  We have learned to fill up time with being hectic rather than being efficient with the minutes that we have.  How quick and easy is it to buy our groceries at one scarily massive supermarket, or to click on a Tesco app and get everything delivered?


And so, it was genuinely pleasant to slow life down again.


Instead of doing a food shop at a supermarket, I learned that I had to visit local butchers and greengrocers.  Food shopping became less of a chore and more of a nice day out.  And I love when mundane household chores become fun again.  Why hoover like a normal person when you can vacuum to the dance moves of “Proud Mary”?  My little nieces loved popping into a farm shop after a trip to the park or a café, and I very much enjoyed the extra time just hanging out with them.


We have added extra stresses into our lives with work, and time-wasting activities, so why not grab some of that time back to remember how to enjoy the small things?  I did an entire blog about “The Glorification of Being Busy” if you want to check it out.


On a final note of what I loved… loose tea leaves.  Seriously, as a British person tea is important.


WHAT I HATED: The main thing that annoyed me about this whole experiment is how hard it was.  But not hard because of the types of food that I had to stop eating.  All of that difficulty was created by the people selling the food.  Watch my video about my first food shopping mission if you want to see exactly what I’m talking about.  But essentially it is made ridiculously difficult to shop in a plastic free way.


Yes, it was nice to spend some extra time enjoying my food shopping outings.  But every now and again, it would be nice to pop to the local shop and grab something quick for lunch.  Why the actual fuck does everything have to wrapped in plastic?  Apples and cucumbers have their own protective skins FFS!


It is our responsibility to do everything we can to help conserve the planet that we’ve all contributed to fucking up.  But I firmly believe that corporations must make it easier.  Most people want to live an easy life.  I don’t blame them.  Life is nicer when it’s simple.  Some companies are on the right track… Morrisons are leading the way with supermarkets, and I have just learned that Waitrose will be piloting a “bring your own containers” for many bulk buy items like rice and cereal.  But seriously… McDonalds, swapping to paper straws, and the government adding a 5p tax to plastic bags is just not good enough.


We can do what we can by limiting our plastic usage, investing in reusable cups and containers, using our time more wisely so that we can shop more sustainably, and not getting sucked in buying what the supermarkets subconsciously tell us to buy (like the amazing deals on junk food, but the surprisingly few offers for fresh produce).  But the big brands have to be with us on this one.  If you can spend millions on creating a brand-new flavour combination, you can damn well spend your cash creating completely recyclable packaging as well.


THE STATS:  During my 6-week diet, I lost around 2 pounds in weight and 6.5% body fat.  Numbers regarding weight loss are notoriously inaccurate, but as both the number on the scale and the reading on my Skulpt (a body fat measuring device which measures each body part independently making it more accurate than most) went down, I can confidently say that I have lost body fat.


Before you even say it, no, I have not come up with a brand-new weight loss method, and I will not be selling this as a new fad.  All I did was reduce high calorie junk food and replaced it with lower calorie whole foods.  I created a natural calorie deficit.  That’s it.  No magic pill here I’m afraid.


But what I did discover is that I felt so fucking good doing this challenge.  Both morally and physically.  I know that I am helping to reduce my own negative effects on the world.  And I know that I am putting more good stuff, like vitamins, minerals, good quality protein and fibre into my body.  And that makes is way more worthwhile than any fat that I have lost.  Yes, it is nice to be leaner.  But being able to walk past my reflection and give myself a wink and a gun to congratulate myself for being an awesome human is far more important to me than comparing my body to Instagram models.


WILL I KEEP IT UP?  For the most part, yes.  Even now the experiment is over I am still refusing to buy many products which are plastic wrapped.  I have started growing my own vegetables.  And I will continue to take trips to my local food produce and “bring your own container” stores.  I am not ruling out buying plastic wrapped products completely, as it is a tough call for everything.  But I am actively doing everything that I can to drastically reduce the amount of plastic I consume.


But, yeah, I did buy a multi-bag of Monster Munch on the last day.  So if anyone has a good recipe for those please pop me a DM.


If you want to learn more about how to get more active and reduce body fat by simply enjoying life more then follow my Facebook page for plenty more tips and advice.



And thank you, you beautiful weirdos for following this journey.


Dominique

(The Anti-Fitness Trainer)

No Plastic Diet (Part 1)

Unless you live in a cave, you have probably heard how much we have fucked up our planet.  This upsets me.  And so, I decided that I would experiment with reducing my footprint on Earth by only eating foods which don’t come wrapped in plastic packaging.  I have called it “The No Plastic Diet”.  And the plan was to document it for a month to see how it affected my health and happiness.

 

 

I am a couple of weeks into it now, so I thought I’d treat you with a little update on how it’s all working out.

 

 

It started out with a little reconnaissance mission to Asda, just to see what would be on the diet, and if it was even possible to eat plastic free.  It’s fair to say that it didn’t go well.  Who knew you can’t buy a single, loose apple at a supermarket?  It seemed that I would be living on beetroot, turnips, and melons for a month.

 

 

I hate to say it, Asda, but what a proper shit show of plastic.  But don’t worry (because I’m sure a multi-billion pound business like Asda is really going to be bricking it because of this blog), it’s not just you.  Most supermarkets, and local shops are the same.  I don’t think that I found a single thing that I could eat at my local One Stop.

 

 

But like the little soldier that I am (or was it “annoyingly persistent human” that my Mum called me?) I trekked on to Morrison’s.  Their website suggests that they are trying to be as Eco-friendly as possible.  Whilst they are absolutely not smashing the plastic free thing, they are definitely doing better than most.

 

 

The choice of loose fruit and veg items was much larger (and they have paper, not plastic bags to put your produce in), you can bring your own containers to the meat and fish counters, and most excitingly, I found cheese which is wrapped in wax (no, I don’t mean Babybels, you heathen).  And I swear it was the best I’ve ever eaten.  And I live near Cheddar, where they make the actual Cheddar cheese, so I know my cheese.

 

 

Supermarkets are basically out for most of the day-to-day food items.  I have yet to plan a trip to my local butchers and greengrocers because, well, organisation has never been my strong point.  I’m more of an ideas gal.But despite this, I did a bit of research and found the best shop in existence (well, except for “Waterstones”, obviously!) 

 

 

Take No Wrap, is a shop which specialises in Eco friendly products.  Everything is in massive vats so that you can fill up your own reusable containers.  Everything from loose tea, to chocolate, to rice.  Household goods like cleaning products are also in there.  They run regular workshops for things like up-cycling and recycling.  Plus they are a drop off point for Eco Bricks.  Bloody amazing place, and similar shops are popping up everywhere, so I urge you to jump on Google and find your local store.

 

 

This is, in a nutshell, how I’ve been doing my bit to save the planet.  I’ll give you all the final details when the month has finished.  Including the cost implications, how it has affected my day to day life, as well as any impact on my health and happiness.  But in the meantime, here are halfway realisations:

 

 

  1. Eating better is pretty much impossible unless you plan. Don’t expect to be able to keep popping to your local shop and expect good quality and nutritious food.
  2. Most places and people would rather take the path of least effort. This includes restaurants with their single use ketchups, people continuing to use plastics bags and single use cups because taking their own requires a little fore thought, and buying fruit and veg at the supermarket because it’s more convenient than supporting local greengrocers or farmer’s markets.
  3. We live in a single use society and would rather buy new than repair old. This isn’t entirely our faults, but who fucking cares.  We all need to take more responsibility to look after our own health and that of the planet.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog coming soon.  But in the meantime, hop onto my Facebook page for regular updates, and to download my No Plastic Diet guide to give you some helpful hints as to how you can reduce your plastic footprint.  



The ocean thanks you weirdos in advance.
 

Dominique

(The Anti-Fitness Trainer)

Anything For An Easy Life

I wouldn’t say that I’m lazy, but I do enjoy an easy life.  I like to get the maximum benefit from the minimum amount of action.  Others call it lazy, but I say it’s efficient.


With this in mind, I shocked myself when I chose to make my life more difficult by changing to a diet of food that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic.  This is part of my plan to help save the planet and all that.  Turns out that this challenge is not easy as it’s fucking tricky to find food which isn’t covered in a shit tonne of unnecessary containers and wrappings.


Now, the outcome of this diet is obviously a little more effort on my part with the planning and cooking.  But the payoff for this has been better health as I’m eating more fruit and veg, and less crap, I’m reducing my footprint on the Earth, and I’m supporting local farmers and food producers.  Totally worth the effort in my opinion.


This change in my diet led to a conversation with one of my mates as to how often we all opt for an easy life and immediate gratification.  But is an easy life the better lifestyle call?  Or is my choice to put in more effort worth it?


The world has evolved to make sure our lives are as easy as possible.  In some ways this is awesome.  For example, I now don’t have to date if I want to get laid, I can just Tinder my way to a one-night stand.  I don’t have to search an encyclopaedia to prove to my mate that Macaques in Japan steal money because they have learnt how to use vending machines (weird but true), when instead I can Google it (and yes, I did Google that).  I don’t even have to spend hours in the kitchen crafting the perfect marinade for my chicken because Tesco’s has done it for me.


But are our increasingly easy lives affecting our enjoyment and our health?


It is true to say that whilst our lives are getting longer, diseases are becoming more prevalent.  But is this caused by the increase of processed, chemical rich food that we are eating because it’s easier and often cheaper than cooking?  I don’t know, I’m not a fucking scientist (which is lucky as my experiments would be weird and completely unhelpful to society).  There is a correlation, for sure.


What I do know, is that I’d rather put fewer chemicals into my body by eating more natural foods.  I’d sooner have fun cooking with my nieces and nephew than have them believe that all food comes from packets and is cooked at 180ᵒC for 30mins.  I could spend my evenings shitting my guts out because I’d chosen fat burners as the easy option (yes, they are just fat binding laxatives and caffeine) but I reckon a walk with my mates would be a more enjoyable way of getting rid of a couple of hundred calories.


And so, yes, I could have an easy life…  I could:


  • Choose processed rather than natural food.
  • Choose binge watching Netflix rather than get enough sleep.
  • Choose ready-made chemical laden sauces rather than make my own.
  • Choose picking at junk food all day rather than accept being slightly hungry until dinner.
  • Choose emotional eating or substance abuse rather than deal with my feelings.
  • Choose the next “magic supplement” rather than better food choices and a little more activity.
  • Choose to accept my lot in life rather than make uncomfortable choices which would improve my long-term happiness.

Tell me, what are you choosing to do for an easy life?  Is it worth it?  Or would a little extra effort and being uncomfortable in the short-term improve your future happiness and health?  It’s your choice.


Don’t forget that I give plenty of quick and simple fixes to your diet, activity and mindset on my Facebook page, for those who like an easy life.  But I also give real advice without the sugar-coated bullshit for those of you who are ready to get a little uncomfortable by putting in the changes to your life which will give you sustainable life-long results.



Stay efficient, you perfect weirdos.


Dominique

(The Anti-Fitness Trainer)

Pull Up Your Big Girl Panties

My nieces were learning to ride proper bikes today.  They’re 4 and 5, so suffice it to say it didn’t always go well.  But the best thing about watching them was when it all went wrong (hear me out, I’m a good Auntie really).  And according to them, when they couldn’t pedal it was the bikes fault.  When they crashed into each other it was their sister’s fault.  When the bike wouldn’t move it was the grass’ fault.


Kids don’t take responsibility.  They blame.  Makes sense really.  They don’t want to accept that their lack of ability is the issue, or they don’t want to be punished when they were clearly caught spraying bug killer onto the dog (yes, that did happen but don’t worry, my dog is fine).


At least that all changes when we become adults.  We all take full responsibility for our actions.  Do we, fuck!


If anything, I reckon it gets worse.


For example, I got a speeding ticket through last week.  It was easy to blame the fact that I was just following the flow of traffic.  It was, however, clearly my responsibility for not looking at the bloody speedo.


In our work and home life do we take responsibility for all the times we make mistakes, or start arguments, or when we accidentally let a whole chocolate cake fall into our mouth?  I think not.  You see the thing is that as adults we are still just as shit at taking responsibility as kids are.  And this is especially true when it comes to our diets and our health.


But what’s the difference between blame and responsibility and why does it matter?


Blame is a scenario where our actions, mistakes and failures are a direct cause of something or someone else.  As a personal trainer I used to hear this all the time…


“It was Dave’s fault; he took me to a posh restaurant for a surprise date”


“I have to keep crisps and chocolate in the house because of the kids”


“I have bad genes and being overweight runs in my family”


“I can’t go out for a walk because I’m always at work”


“I’m rubbish.  I have no willpower and so there’s no point in trying to change because I’m bound to fail again.”


These “reasons” might make you feel better in the short-term.  But my niece telling herself that it’s wobbly grass’ fault that she can’t immediately ride a bike means that she won’t learn the lesson that it’s because she’s not fucking pedalling.  Dude, I know you’re four, but seriously why haven’t I taught you about Newton’s Laws yet?  It’s the same deal with your mindset.  If you keep throwing around blame then you are far less likely to be able to learn the laws of weight loss, and exactly why you can’t stick to an exercise programme.


Responsibility is different.  Once you accept responsibility for your own actions (like doing 44mph in a 30 zone really is my responsibility) then you can give yourself the space to learn from your behaviour and then be able to grow because of it.


Taking away the blame means that you can start to realise the shit that you are responsible for, such as:


  • What you choose to put into your shopping basket.
  • Learning that you deal with emotions by eating all of the snacks.
  • Waking up 30 minutes earlier to take the dog for a longer walk.
  • Learning that a super-low calorie diet will make you starving and therefore crash and binge eat at some point.
  • Knowing that you should probably stop after 2 glasses of wine (although alcohol lowers your ability to make genuinely good choices, so this one you can blame on the wine).
  • Realising that if you keep having the same failures again and again that there’s probably something new you need to learn, or a slight change you need to make.

If we learn to accept responsibility and stop blaming both internal and external forces, then something else great happens… we will start to give ourselves credit for the things we absolutely smash.  We learn to stop praising Slimming World for making us eat fewer Syns and instead, start congratulating ourselves for not eating so much junk food.


But there’s no getting away from the fact that society is setting us up to fail.  It engineers hyper-palatable food which are super-high in calories and then blames us for eating it.  Let’s take back some power and learn to take responsibility for shoving it into our faces by learning what makes us self-sabotage against achieving our goals.


So here are some quick ways of taking responsibility but making it productive rather than shameful…


  1. Notice every time you are throwing blame for things that are in your control.
  2. Don’t take it badly when you fuck up. You will.  Take each moment as an opportunity to learn whatever it is that you need to and move on.
  3. Put your fuck ups into perspective before deciding to use it as a reason for self-sabotage or stress yourself out. Will it matter in 5 minutes?  5 days, 5 months or 5 years?  If after 5 days it won’t have an impact on your life anymore then you can probably just let it go.  Move on and don’t give it another thought.  (Thanks to Emily Chadbourne at “This Crazy Thing Called Life” for that little gem, and seriously follow her Facebook page for more legendary bits of mindset advice).
  4. Focus on taking action rather than sitting with the feelings of guilt or shame. Pick an action which will improve your issues, just 1% better then you are doing now.  Little changes which are turned into habits by repetition will cause the biggest change for the better.

There are many reasons why you find it difficult to stick to fad diets and crazy hard exercise routines.  Hunger and exhaustion are real things.  Learn to recognise the difference between a company setting you up to fail, compared to the moments where you need to pull up those big girl panties and admit that you’re maybe not doing life as well as you could be.


So maybe put that second piece of cheesecake down and go play with the dog instead.


If you appreciated this little life lesson then please do me a solid and give it a like and a share.  And I will send you some very good karma in return!



Stay crazy, you beautiful weirdos.


Dominique

(The Anti-Fitness Trainer)