Doubts & concerns. A normal part of growing up.

6 months is a long time and yet it seems to go so quickly! That is how long it has been since I last wrote on here and I feel so awful for the fact I haven’t been keeping in touch more, but life has been busy both in and out of work and to be honest, I’m not going to beat myself up for enjoying myself a little.

For a while I thought about taking the blog down as I didn’t have the time I used to to devote to something which I created from scratch. Also, people change. The plans I had when this blog was started are so different now and I think that if anything my blog just needs a refresh. The most helpful posts for me have always been ones which are really open and real so instead of talking about fashion and beauty quite so much, I’ll be focussing more on real life. Of course, I still love all that stuff and that will feature, but think of this as a real insight into the life of your very average 20-something woman!

So what has been on my mind lately? For me it has been about whether I am good enough. What do I mean by that? Well some of the things which feature:

  • Am I being a good enough friend/girlfriend?
  • Could I be doing more at work/professionally?
  • Am I too fat and should I be working out more?
  • Am I too hard on myself and worrying about nothing?

The list goes on and on, but you get the picture. The worst part is, I know I am not alone in these thoughts as these are fears a lot of people I know also share in one way or another.

I work so hard and put my all into everything that I do and sometimes it just doesn’t seem enough. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to go for a run or a bike ride, sometimes I would rather just stay in all weekend rather than going out. Luckily, as someone who tries to look at everything from an optimistic point of view, I don’t get stuck in that slump for too long, but it does happen. Take the blog as a perfect example, I started something which I feel like I haven’t been able to finish. At one point it was something which felt like it defined me and now it’s not so great.

And why do we feel like this from time to time? The answer is that we compare ourselves to others!

When you compare yourself to others it is so easy to get in a rut. No two stories are the same, so how can you properly compare? Someone else may seem to have more in one aspect, but without a doubt they look at you and see something that they would like to have just as much.  Instead of focussing on what everyone else has that you wish you did, write a little list of the things you know you do well or have in your life to be positive about. It doesn’t have to be a long list, but the more you can add the better, even small things like smiling at strangers as that goes a long way for some!

I’d love to hear how you feel about this post! What are you biggest fears and concerns? Do you think you are too hard on yourself? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Lots of love, Leanne xx

Life lessons: Get organised, get happier!

Hey everyone, I have a feeling that this is going to be a good blog post and a very apt one too so I’m just going to jump right in.

This year has been the one which has seen some of the most substantial changes in my life happen all at once which naturally causes chaos temporarily. Except the one thing that I find is that actually sometimes chaos happens and then kind of stays with you, which can build up and up without you even realising. I’m not ashamed to say that happened to me in multiple areas of my life and instead of looking at the root cause, I just made excuses.

From not having time to work out, not having an organised house, forgetting things – the chaos was impacting my life in almost every aspect and I didn’t even see how it was connected. And then,  by chance, some alone time and some inspiration from those closest to me, I realised I could achieve whatever it is I want to achieve, but with some focus and organisation.

I can make excuses until I’m blue in the face that changing jobs has left me with less time, but actually I’ve gained time in other areas which I’m just not using  correctly.

I’m very much of the perspective that life is too short to worry or stress (YOLO and all that) but actually it’s eye-opening for me to experience first-hand that stress can creep up on you without you even realising until it is gone. And now my eyes have been opened it’s definitely time to maximise on my awareness and improve all aspects of my life…

For example, a pet stress in my household has always been that I’ve been known to be pretty untidy which can cause wasted time looking for things, or a mammoth cleaning session which takes a whole day. But now I have thrown away anything which doesn’t get use or is just taking up space and make sure to keep on top of everything doing a little every day so it’s never one big task – literally making everything manageable 🙂

Another place I have been slacking is the gym! Last year I was at the gym 3+ times a week and loving it, but after having to take an extended break I haven’t been able to get back into it and instead complain about gaining weight and losing tone whilst effectively doing nothing about it! But not anymore! I’ve started looking at my locations for the week ahead and planning in advance in my google diary when I’m going and for how long as well as looking for different activities I can do to keep my interest, including long walks. Another reason this is so important, is that actually me time at the gym helps relieve any built stresses and gives me an opportunity to get away from my phone and have time just me and my thoughts, which I think we all forget is actually really important.

From the simplest things like picking your weeks outfits on a Sunday evening or having a clear out of your handbags to the bigger things like emptying your loft, or spring cleaning your finances – all these individual steps are likely to have a positive domino effect into so many different aspects of your life, that if you do nothing else this August, set aside only a few hours to reflect, review and plan. As whilst you do only live once, you want to make sure the life you’re living is as happy as you can possibly make it be 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this post as I found this really cathartic to write! I’ll follow up over the coming weeks with my gym/food schedules and any updates on how I am moving forward with my planning and organisation!

Let me know in the comments below any life hacks you have that could also help, as I’m always looking to make my life as easy and happy as possible 🙂

Lots of love, Leanne xx

Slimming World – weightloss update

Hey everyone, check me out posting on the regs again! It feels nice to be getting back to some routine, but I still have a long way to go to get ahead of myself! I probably shouldn’t feel too proud as this is just the kicking off of my weekly Slimming World post but it is better than nothing right? 🙂

So quick update for you all! I have lost 7lbs in total since beginning Slimming World. I feel like it should have been way more by now, but being ill and going away set me back a few lbs so here I am! I’m getting close to my interim target though so a bit of focus is required to do all I can to get down to my ideal weight. I’ve also made steps to move to a new gym and get back into a good fitness routine as everything I have been doing recently has been a bit adhoc which I am actually super excited for!

My interim target is a 10lb loss and my final target is currently set at 17lbs so actually so far so good I guess!

Meal of the week:

This one is a bit tricky as to be honest I haven’t really been eating many proper dinners due to being so busy, however this has been a great opportunity to try out the Iceland Slimming World ready meals. I was sceptical but actually they are delicious, convenient and way healthier than any other ready meal I have ever eaten! And even better they are great portion sizes so I definitely don’t feel hungry after eating one 🙂

Don’t forget to share with me your favourite healthy recipes in the comments below as I always need new kitchen inspiration!

I hope you enjoyed this post and dont forget to look out for more over the next few weeks 🙂

Lots of love, Leanne xx

It’s okay to feel flat, fat and fed up sometimes

Hey everyone,

I know I have been rubbish at posting blogs lately, life has been busy in general and after coming down with a horrible chesty infection a few weeks ago, going away on holiday and then having to deal with Andy’s broken wrist since being back it’s all been a bit much! However, I am slowing down a bit to commit to writing some more. Even when I don’t get to post written pieces though, there are always new pictures on Instagram so make sure you stay tuned there if you aren’t already!

This post is a little different for me. I’m focussing on feelings, emotion and life instead of fashion and beauty purely because my blog is like my little online diary. I’ve had a few conversations with people recently where they have confessed they haven’t been feeling so good but seemed so reluctant to talk about it and after hearing that some of their favourite posts of mine were the ones where I was really honest and myself, I was inspired. People several times a day ask “Hey, how are you?” However the only answer it seems okay to give is “fine thanks” which is a shame because if things aren’t fine it’s crucial to talk about it as it really does help! It isn’t something we really talk about, but why shouldn’t it be? So here I am doing my little piece to break down some barriers and to hopefully help start some conversations 🙂

I don’t know if any of you had the same perception as I did when you were younger? At 16 years old I felt being 24 was so grown up and that everyone seemed like they had it all together and yet now I’m here, I don’t feel that way at all. I don’t feel grown up or like a proper adult and I definitely don’t feel like I have my life together at all! Don’t get me wrong, I have a lovely life filled with many wonderful people and experiences and I’m always really happy and grateful, however this is not how I pictured I would be at 24.

I guess looking back I didn’t really ever stop to think how I expected to feel as I got older. And it’s not that I’m scared of getting older as actually I quite like the increasing wisdom and respect which comes with age, however I don’t feel grounded, I don’t feel anywhere near being fully accomplished and I certainly am not at the point where I feel content.

When you are at school people say those are the best years of your lives, when you are in your twenties people are saying the same thing so you begin to wonder “what actually is the best time of your life?” Will you ever have a moment where you wake up one day and think “yeah, I’m happy I have it all together, I know what I wanted and now I’ve got it”?

I actually think that being in your twenties is one of the toughest times of your life. In your teens, people don’t expect much from you except that you will make mistakes and probably be a bit angsty and hormonal and yet in your twenties you’re an adult and people expect you to act like one, eventhough you are still muddling your way through except at the same time working full time, or battling to find a job after uni and probably having to look after yourself at home too. As you approach your mid twenties, questions about when you are going to get married and have kids become more frequent and if, like me, you aren’t sure whether marriage and babies is your thing the response is always “you’ll change your mind, you’re only young”! I’m lucky as I’m pretty self assured and outspoken and luckily supported in all I do by my family, but even I sometimes hear these responses and wonder if I’m normal. But in my logical mind, I want to remind you that we actually don’t know what normal is. Who defines normality? Who defines what is an acceptable way to think and feel.

So I guess all I want to say is, don’t worry and don’t hide how you are feeling. Don’t worry if sometimes you feel fat and frumpy and yet still want to eat every item of food within reach and not go to the gym, don’t worry if you aren’t sure what you want to do or achieve in life or if your views are different to those around you. Just do you – You’re the only one that can and so you should make the most of it!

I hope you liked this post and that it helped if you were feeling at all confused, down or just fed up!

Lots of love, Leanne xx

 

My Slimming World Journey – Getting started

Hey everyone,

I feel like rather than getting more free time like I was planning on at the end of last year, I now have less which is causing me major posting issues so I apologise for the lack of posts as well as the lack of variety. I need to work my new commitments into my schedule and then be very strict with myself to ensure I am writing (and posting regularly) and making sure what I am writing is interesting for you!

I have so many ideas lined up of what I want to do for you too so I have decided that this Sunday I am locking myself in my office and writing loads of exciting pieces for you 🙂

One of the reasons which I now have less free time is because I have rejoined Slimming World! My group takes place on a Wednesday evening (the same night I am supposed to post) and by the time I am home if I have already written something to go out, it just isn’t going to happen. I will change, I promise!!!!

Anyway, as you all know I frequently document my weightloss and fitness journey and what I have noticed from writing about it for you all, is that actually I lead a relatively healthy lifestyle exercising regularly and eating pretty well, but can often lack focus or willpower (unsurprisingly!)

I did Slimming World for the first time a few years ago after getting to my biggest ever size and weight (which don’t get me wrong probably wasn’t big by many people’s standards) but it certainly was by mine! I naively thought it would be really easy and I’d get to target really quickly, but after recently moving house and getting a new job doing Slimming World on my own meant I wasn’t really sticking 100% to plan and ended up just wasting money to never make it to target despite losing almost a stone!

After being off plan for a couple of years I was really happy with the weight I had kept off (about 10lbs) but definitely noticed that after being off of training for so long with my foot injury, I was struggling to get my healthy lifestyle mojo back and after gaining a couple of Christmas lbs and with a couple of holidays looming, I decided not to let it slide and to join up again to kick off where I left my journey but this time I wasn’t alone! A few of my friends had started going to group again and I managed to convince Andy to come along for the ride too.

And I have to say I am loving it. My interim target is a 10lb loss and my final target is currently set at 17lbs and in my first week I managed to get a great start on this and lose 4lbs, the most I have ever lost in one week – I haven’t even been able to get to the gym!

This week really wasn’t as good, as I had my works annual awards ceremony which resulted in consuming rather too much alcohol and indulging in hangover food the next day and then I struggled to get back on with healthy eating following this blip, however I managed to claw it back for the end of the week to see a small loss of half a pound 🙂

So why I am telling you all this? Well as a lifestyle blog I thought I would do a weekly update on how I was getting on each Wednesday and maybe also share with you some of my favourite recipes/meals from the week for some inspiration as well as helping you find the best bargains to get you on track!

Meal of the week:

This week my favourite meal (all cooked from scratch I want to add) was my Quorn Chicken and Bacon Medallion with Egg Fried Rice.

 Info:

Serves 4 People easily!

Prep time: 15 – 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Syns per serving: FREE

Ingredients:

♥ 8tbsp light soy sauce

♥ 4 garlic cloves (crushed) or dried garlic seasoning

♥ 1tsp of Chinese 5 Spice powder

♥ 3 skinless chicken breasts (sliced) or Quorn Chicken Pieces

♥ 3 bacon medallions

♥ 397g dried egg noodles (I use a dried noodle square per person)

♥ large bag of mixed stir fry veg

♥ 4 spring onions (sliced diagonally)

♥ 10 diced mushrooms

♥ 2 tbsp dark soy sauce

♥ Microwave Basmati Rice

♥ Vegetable Stock

♥ 3 eggs

♥ FryLight

How to cook Chicken Chow Mein:

  • Mix the light soy sauce, garlic and 5 spice, add your chicken or Quorn, toss to coat evenly and then set aside to marinate for 20minutes.
  • Grill your bacon medallions
  • Fry off your chicken or Quorn until cooked through using Fry Light in a large wok or pan
  • Once chicken is almost cooked, cook the noodles according to the packets instructions and leave to simmer until required.
  • Add the mushrooms, stir fry veg and spring onion to the chicken and stir fry together for another 4 – 5minutes. I add more soy sauce and also vegetable stock at this point for some moisture.
  • Drain the noodles and add to your chicken and vegetables, add some more chicken stock and stir together for several more minutes.
  • Microwave your rice as the noodles are soaking up the chow mein flavour and quickly scramble your eggs using fry light.
  • Once finished stir rice and egg together, serve both dishes and enjoy!

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Have any of you tried this before? If you have let me know in the comments below how you found it, or if you have any of your own favourite recipes you recommend I try!

I hope you enjoy my Slimming World updates over the coming weeks and months J Make sure you let me know how you are getting on if you are on plan too 🙂

Lots of love, Leanne xx

No Shit November – Wrap Up

No Shit November Wrap Up

Hey everyone,

I’m so sorry that I haven’t posted in a while! I have been so busy with gymnastics and just exhausted from general life that I haven’t had the brain capacity to write anything good!

But I am back now and thought I would wrap up No Shit November for you 🙂

So despite it not going quite to plan, I currently weight 9stone 12lbs and have a 27 inch waist. I’m pretty in proportion elsewhere with measurements currently being 36 – 27 – 35 however I would like to get all of those down if possible.

Onwards and upwards for me now though! I have just started at a new gym and completed my very first Body Combat class today and wow I can feel the ache already. As well as that I’ve also started horse riding which is amazing exercise and am planning with my brother to start a food diary too so hopefully it wont be long before I see those numbers going down 🙂

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I’ll keep you all posted on the remainder of my journey and wish you all the best in your journey!

Also, I have created a blog snapchat now so you can add me there at Lifestyle4less as well as following me on Twitter and Instagram 🙂

Lots of love, Leanne xx

Health and Fitness Update – Clear goals and complete focus

So it has been a while since I have done one of these posts, but I thought it was about time that I bit the bullet and basically started again with updates on my diet and fitness 🙂
It’s no secret that when I was on holiday I didn’t think too much about what to eat and what not to eat and then following my wisdom tooth removal a week after being back I was out of sorts at the gym and with healthy eating. But with 5 weeks left to go before I next need to be in a bikini, I figured it was time to stop messing around and get back on with living a clean lifestyle.
This time I have a clear nutrition plan from my gym and I would strongly recommend you get one personalised for you and your goals if you haven’t already! I’m eating more than I ever have before in a day, but I have to say even after such a short time following the plan I am noticing huge differences!
It’s been a really big change though, so it isn’t worth taking on if your heart isn’t in it. I would like to think I am a fairly organised person, but being healthy and clean eating all the time requires a lot of forward planning and effort, but then they do say that 70% of a change is made in the kitchen!
My Saturday evenings are now dedicated to a much different looking food shop and my Sundays are spent prepping and boxing food for the week, which is actually quite satisfying to see when it all comes together. I’m keeping daily food diaries, increasing my protein intake and decreasing intake of salt, sugar, carbs and processed fat. I’ve been recording my workouts at the gym to make myself do better each time I go and I have to say even though it sounds like a lot of effort, I weirdly like it. Don’t get me wrong it has been a hard adjustment getting used to eating different and more food, but it quickly becomes normal and the results should come quicker too.
I’ve come to terms with the fact I will never be modelesque – that is just not what I was made to be, however I have set clearer goals now, looking to inspiration from Khloe Kardashian and her amazing transformation through clean eating and exercise, as well as naturally curvier women who still look incredible! Like I said in a post I did recently, we are bombarded with images of women who look nothing like us, and that we will never be able to emulate as that is just not in our makeup (or it’s been photoshopped beyond real life recognition!) so finding suitable role models and being able to clearly define what I want to achieve and having it be confirmed as realistic is actually really helpful! Do you really think you are going to keep slogging away at the gym running miles at a time if your end goal is to look like Kendall Jenner, but you are actually a Kim Kardashian? I doubt it! Even someone with the patience of a saint would be disheartened to not see the results they so desperately hope for, so definitely keep your goals realistic, but ever present 🙂
In regards to training, I’ve really changed that up too! I’ve started to train with someone which I’m finding is really pushing my boundaries, but I am also introducing different exercises into my routine to keep myself interested and to make sure I am working different muscles! I’m beginning to rock climb once a month and now spilt my weekly routine into 3 sessions at the gym, a run and a Polenastics class along with my lunchtime yoga and pilates sessions! Doing such a variant makes me train many different areas and use loads of different areas of my brain too so it definitely helps me feel more on the ball and alert as well as helping me relax.
And that is something else I said I’d add in! How am I feeling about it all? Add in how I am feeling – still not confident as definitely not where I want to be, but happy with all the positive changes I have made!
Lots of love, Leanne xx
Ooh and ps. I’ll upload some beginning pics and measurements soon but I don’t have time today as I’m about to go to an exercise class!