Tag Archives: exercise

Lost in Translation

19 Mar

Going past the obvious physical things, there are some massive differences between boys and girls, a point that has become glaringly obvious since I moved in with one. Things like emptying the bins, “I didn’t notice they were full!” and hoovering “I like my feet black!” were expected, but there are some things that we see from totally different stand points.

Take last night for example.

Last night, I finally dragged my sorry ass to the gym, and not only did I do the most high intensity zumba class, which turned out not to be zumba but an eclectic blend of salsa, reggaeton and bowka, I also did 15 minutes on the stepper as I was there a bit early.


I was really proud of myself, despite the fact that I had to consume a banana and half a bag of sweets on the way home due to slightly low blood sugar (ill learn the balance eventually of insulin, working out and food intake) but I was pleased all the same.

I trekked home, getting weird looks from fellow tube passengers (I have something to admit, five minutes after exercise has finished, I go puce and remain that way for a good hour. It’s my thang) and my boyfriend had done something really sweet. Something he thought I would really appreciate. He had got me a “well done for going to the gym treat”.

Just to add some background to this, I have given cheese up for lent. It’s my biggest vice, and I love ever cheese imaginable. I don’t drink a lot and wanted to test my willpower for the lent period, so cheese it was. And Lord, it’s been the hardest thing. But so far I have been cheese free since Pancake Day, and I have a month to go. A month of pure hell. Especially as I gave up cheese for January too, in a bid to make my tummy look less like cottage cheese.


So my treat was……… a cheese board! I was a little taken aback. Why would it be a good idea to reward me with the same amount of calories I had just leaked in sweat, half way through a massive test of my willpower? And why does anyone need a reward for their first gym session? Well done for not being lazy for the first time in your life! I didn’t get the logic. He didn’t get my logic.

When I asked my girl housemate what she thought, her response was “I did have to bite my tongue when he got home with it”.

I totally appreciated the sentiment of the reward, I just thought it a weird one. Diamonds would have done just fine.

Have you ever been in a situation where you have done something / someone else has done something for you that has been totally misinterpreted?

Required: Motivation

26 Jan

I’ve never been one of those girls that knows about calories. Or, for that matter, cares about calories. The most health conscious I have ever been is being able to hold a straight face when insisting that orange flavoured chocolate is one of your five a day, and that if you eat loads on a plane it doesn’t count because you are in the air.


So I was slightly horrified when my clothes started to feel a little tight at the seams, and I started to look a little, well, doughy. WTF? I’ve always eaten what I liked and the only exercise I can admit to regularly doing is walking (at speed) to the fridge. It dawned on me. I will be 30 soon. Is this what my cousins forebode when they tried to tell me that when you hit 30 you can’t metabolise one brie a day? Good Lord, it could all be coming true.


Don’t get me wrong, I had achieved my goal of eating nearly an entire cheeseboard each day between Christmas and New Year, and I had bloody enjoyed it. It’s not like I am disillusioned as to why calories are sticking to me like I am the worlds biggest magnet, when all I’ve been eating is dust. 🙂

Teamed with the fact that my sister is on a health kick and my best friend has deemed her back too fat to fit in a bridesmaids dress in the summer, I realised I had to get my shit together.

In my opinion, the people who insist exercise is fun, being sweaty is achieving something and salad is delicious, are on crack. But I’ve embraced it – I’ve been swimming, am doing exercise videos and eating like a rabbit for the past few weeks. Wine has become the enemy (but I looooooooooove you) and there is an ultimate ban on cheese, which in my opinion, is like losing a limb.


Its working.

However, the one thing that I really cannot stand, is the one thing that so many gym bunnies swear by.

The 30 Day Shred. People say that Jillian is motivational, and her shouting spurs you on. She often screams “if 400 pound people can do a jumping jack, you can too!!!!” But I am stubborn. She makes me want to face plant a carton of ice cream and chase it down with maple syrup. Which wouldn’t be a pretty sight for anyone.


So I’m adopting the Laura attitude to being a skinny Minnie – if occasionally I do eat a loaf of bread / a block of cheese /anything Jillian would disapprove of, at least ‘not eating it every day. In your face, America’s Biggest Shouter.

I’m sticking to Zumba and trying not to laugh in Yoga. That’s my jam.

What do you do to keep healthy? Any recipes that may save me from my personal salad hell?

Just Keep Swimming…

30 Oct

When I am stressed there is nothing I like more than to go for a swim. I like the way that the lapping water calms me, and I love walking along the beach for the same reason.

Not so much as a child. My mother, like any mother, wanted the best for me. Over the years she bought me various “first 1000 words in… (insert language)” books, signed me up for ballet classes and competitions and tried to give me a rounded childhood. She also tried to get me to learn to swim.

To give you some background, I had a bit of an aversion to water. As a small child the bath was fine, splash splash splash, beard made out of bath bubbles, squirting water out of a fish…. All fun and games. Hair washing was another matter, and if water made contact with my head I would scream and scream and get myself so worked up that I might be sick. How my Mum looked forward to hair washing nights!

As I got older, I used to ask if I could do swimming lessons in the summer. The first year Mum enthusiastically booked me in, and the time came when I was to get in the water. Brand new swimming costume, very excited at the thought of being able to swim…. Wouldn’t get in the water. There were tears and tantrums and princess strops, and eventually my Mum could see that there was no way I was getting in the water. We went home in frosty silence.

The next year I requested the lessons again. I assured my Mum that I was indeed ready to learn, and she relented and booked them in. We got to the pool, I wouldn’t get in and my sister got the privilege of a week’s lessons. You can see where this is going.

The next year, the same thing happened. My sister was the best in the class, mainly for the fact that she had done swimming lessons every year when I wouldn’t do them. For the shame! My Mum also refused to talk to me for a bit as I had ruined her day. Just so happened it was her birthday.

Then one year we went to Italy. My cousins came too, along with my grandparents and mum and dad. I remember being horribly embarrassed that the other girls were playing in the pool for the majority of the holiday, and it was too deep in the shallow end for me to even play. I watched them for a few days, and then one day when my granny was in charge of watching us I climbed down the ladder and into the deep end of the pool. Understandable, my grandmother panicked, and rushed to the side of the pool to watch me swim breast stroke to the ladder at the shallow end and get out of the water.

“You can swim?!” everyone asked. It wasn’t that I could swim, but it seemed that I had watched everyone else do it for such a long time that I understood the theory of the task and was able to just get in and get on with it.

And I’ve loved the water ever since. I’m nothing if not stubborn!

Have you ever surprised yourself by being able to do something?

The One Where We Went To Aqua Aerobics

28 Oct

At certain times in my life I agree to go to the gym with Emma. She is one of these people who seem to actively enjoy exercise, and therefore must be bred directly from Satan himself. Emma loves the gym. And as I love Emma, I feel I too should love the gym. It goes in fits and starts, but on one occasion she persuaded me to go to aqua aerobics at the local sports park with her. She did originally suggest circuits, but the thought of that made me need a sit down so we agreed on a middle ground.

To give you some background, her old gym is not at all like the Average Joe’s affair that we now go to. Our gym is lovely; full of chatty people, old and young, fat and thin. It doesn’t matter how sweaty you look or wobbly you feel, there will be someone sweatier and wobblier. And I like the anonymity of the whole affair.

Her old gym on the other hand is where the rugby teams train and where the Olympics teams will practice. It’s swanky. And it’s full of Skinny Sarahs and Hunky Harrys all limbering up to flex their muscles that are bigger than my waist. You know the type. The girls nearly always have a long mane-esque pony tail and both sexes are browner than physically natural for the UK at any time of year.

Anyway. Aqua aerobics. We changed and hotfooted to the pool, which is Olympic size. Aaaah. No quietly aerobic-ing it in there then. The instructor barked at us to get in the water, in an SAS style rant and my internal voice started nagging. I don’t think this is going to be for you Belle. Leave quietly. Hell no, I paid! OK well continue, but she looks meeeeean.

We were given these strange floats that looked like giant straight twiglets made out of foam, and instructed to do various things with them. This was where we lost our marbles. There were about twenty other ladies in the class, all looking fantastically poised, so we didn’t think it would be that hard. Firstly, you had to use the twiglet device as a skipping rope and skip in the water. Have a laugh! The resistance was so much that Emma lost grip on hers and it came flying over and hit me in the face. Cue giggles and a dirty look from Army Anne, the instructor. Then we had to pretend to surf on a float, pushing it down in the water and standing on it. I fell off, nearly drowning and we nearly lost Emma to the same watery death, so much was her laughing. Cue actual death stares from AA, and a faint giggle from one of the girls in the class that didn’t look like she had roamed the earth with early dinosaur. I mean really, it was quite hard and amusing, and although Army Anne was doing it fine, I do have to point out that she was safely on land and only doing a few to demonstrate with one hand, while eating a doughnut with the other (well, she WAS only doing a few, the rest might be exaggerated…).

The last task was to swim fifty metres from one end of the pool to the other with the float wrapped round us in a weird way, like an under-boob floatation device. But you had to swim backwards. We thought we were doing really well until we realised how far behind the rest of the gang we were, and some were actually lapping us!

When we got out of the pool we were asked if we would return the following week. “Don’t think so” Emma responded “It was funny, but I don’t think any muscles got exercised other than my ones affected by laughter”. She had a point. Although our lungs did get a good wash out from all that pool water, I could have saved my six pounds and asked Emma to repeatedly hit me in the face with a float and dunk me for half an hour and had the same results.

The terrible two have tried gym classes before so if you liked this post you should probably read the ones below; we are nothing if not entertaining!
Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
I Can Haz Inner Peace
Beach Body Here I Come!

Flabber Forecast ~ The Wobble Watch

19 Sep

My housemate and I have a never ending good intention to eat better and go to the gym more. The only problem is that it is often discussed while sitting on the sofa in front of a film, eating chocolate or ice-cream. Or dips and chips. Or anything that might cause flabber to think that we are suitable resting places!

This weekend was one of those occasions. I cooked a hangover roast dinner for all the waifs and strays that were gathered in our flat, and while cooking the boys went out and picked up DVDs and snacks for an afternoon bedded into the flat, dozing and eating. Good shout.

While polishing off ice-cream, after eating a massive roast, dips, chips, the first and second wave of chocolate delights and some millions, my housemate commented “I really need to go to the gym this week.” Right. Bad time to discuss it really. Too full to think about it. We mooted it briefly, and then dismissed it as madness, choosing to watch a few more films, eat more food and contemplate drawing on the face of the poor hung over boy that fell asleep on the sofa. My kindness (for once) prevailed. He escaped face-graffiti free. And better be grateful!

This morning she brought me a cup of tea (a ritual I have come to love since moving in with one of my best friends. She knows the ‘not quite awake enough to function’ mode that I have before ten am and aims to deal with it swiftly) and asked me if I wanted to go swimming tomorrow. I agreed, but am genuinely concerned that if I get too close to the water edge I may indeed sink.

Here comes my point. We have been secretly surveying a poll of men who come in and out of our flat for a period of a few months (makes it sound like a brothel. I mean our male friends thank you very much) and it seems that a fundamental difference between men and women is that men have more willpower. Faced with some cheese or carbs in the week, the boy folk amongst us will say “no thank you, I’m good in the week” whereas us who belong to the fairer (and chubbier) sex will say “ah go on then, but after that I’m definitely avoiding brie for the ENTIRE week!” My question is why can you not buy willpower on eBay? Me and Emma would be the first in the queue for some of that, and pay well over the odds! I have a love/hate relationship with exercise; when I get into the swing of going I become obsessive and gymmy, eating only stir-fries and cottage cheese and indulging in yoga, boxercise and all the other joyful delights of the gym. But I haven’t been in ages, and right now I can think of a million and one things that I need to do over going (organise knicker drawer into colour areas and ball up socks? Definitely. Clean the fridge with a wet wipe? Of course!)

If I don’t get myself motivated to go again this week then I’m just going to accept defeat and cancel my gym membership. This thought crosses my mind regularly, and something forces me to go for a run, meaning that that half an hour on the treadmill is costing me £25 a month. Fabulous!! Probably should address the half packet of biscuits in my drawer in the office first though. To avoid the temptation later in the week and all that!

If Only Money Grew On Trees

4 Aug

I haven’t had a holiday in ages.

OK, that’s a lie. I’ve actually been to Germany, Portugal and California this year, but I feel like I haven’t been away in ages. I’m one of those people who lives to travel, who loves to get off a plane in a new destination and who enjoys soaking up the atmosphere in another country.

The only problem is, I am also the sort of person who would love to believe that she has enough money to live like a princess.

So fantasy Belle’s plans are to visit somewhere hot for a few weeks, relax on the beach and stay in a beautiful hotel that overlooks the sea and has monkeys ( I love monkeys).

Reality Belle however is having a pain in the bum month. I am on a very strict life budget and the imminent prospect of my MOT on the crapmobile, plus the fact that my road tax was paid this month, means that all I can afford to do in my spare time is go to the gym, as this is already paid for. Which, if you know me at all, doesn’t bode well. I hate the gym.

Last week I went to the gym. And for the next forty eight hours I could barely walk, having strained every muscle in my body. I ‘daintily’ flopped off the sofa when I needed the loo, and walking was accompanied with a soundtrack of “owowowowowowow OW”. So I’m off there again tonight, for more ritualistic torture.

The worst thing about it is being flirted with by a bunch of sweaty Neanderthals. In my short time there last week I accidently made eye contact with the man on one of the bikes who had two teeth and a slight air of her majesty’s pleasure, which was a fatal error. While eternally running at a mirror you have the bad luck of seeing everything behind you, so I watched in horror as he made his way over, tried to make eye contact with me again, stared at my bum, lingered around the water fountain, and then luckily, buggered off. Or so I thought.

Then I went to do some sit ups and accidently made eye contact with a meathead trying to lift his weight in metal. He then kept trying to make eye contact again, in the mirror (goddamn the mirrors) mistakenly thinking I was checking him out. Yep, I like muscles as much as the next girl, but not on a man who is gurning due to the heaviness of the weight and looking like he might poo himself.

So I gave up and went for a swim. And who was in the Jacuzzi but Colin the Caveman, of exercise bike fame. I got in the pool and paid close attention to the wall, studying it furiously, trying to do at least a few lengths before going home and vegging out for the night. This went well till he invited me into the Jacuzzi with him, when I suddenly remembered that I had left the oven on/had an appointment at the doctors/needed to throw up.

They say chivalry is dead. I think they might be right.

Surfin USA

20 Apr

Yesterday Little Bean and I went surfing at Del Mar. She had never done it before, and i haven’t surfed for three years, so my auntie booked us some lessons on the beach. It was great day for it as it was overcast, so the best place to be was in the sea if it was going to rain anyway (although my burnt shoulders from this morning will tell a different story).

Bikinis on, we headed down to the beach and met the instructor who made us don our wetsuits and practice on the boards on the beach for  while before we hit the waves. It was slightly embarrassing to lie on the board and pretend to paddle while the ever so unbelievably good-looking instructor gave us tips on what to and what not to do, but hey, we embraced it.

And I hit the waves hard. i forgot about my fear of the deep sea, because I never go out that far, preferring to stick within boob depth so i can always touch the sea bed. I remembered it after getting a face full of a particularly high wave which knocked me flat on the way out. i proceeded to try to get up as wave after wave hit me in the face, until i started panic breathing and had to go have a sit down on the sand and have a little chat with myself. Little Bean thought i had had enough and didn’t want to surf anymore, but I just needed time to pull myself together. Pretty soon I got back in the water.

It’s not like riding a bike. if you haven’t surfed for  few years then its like learning to walk again. I spent a large portion of the first half face down in the sand, but after i embraced the flow I felt a lot better. I surfed for about an hour (stopping to watch my little sister who took to it like a duck to water, and was absolutely fantastic). i was hampered slightly by running out of wave before i could stand up, but to do this i need to go deeper to get the distance, and i wasn’t happy to do that!

When I got home, soggy and cold, I bent over to pick something off the floor, and half the sea came gushing out of my nose. Gross!

Diabetes and Me

31 Mar

I’ve talked around the issue of me being a diabetic, and I thought I would share a little more with you all.

Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes—is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger). (Wikipedia)

I was diagnosed as being diabetic in the November I turned seventeen. I was drinking a lot of water and losing a lot of weight (which I thought was great, but looking back I looked in desperate need of a sandwich and a full fat coke!) and my Dad said that I may need to visit the doctor. I went and when my results were returned I had to go straight to the hospital. Unfortunately they didn’t have a bed for me so I spent the night on a casualty ward on a Friday night. You can imagine the horror; drunken people throwing up and people shouting; I was terrified and from then on insisted my dad took me home and brought me back to the hospital twice a day for shots. Continue reading

I CAN Haz Inner Peace!

8 Mar

In my quest to further locate my inner gorgeousness and lose my frantic “there must be something that I should be doing” air, I went to yoga last night. In truth, I went first to step, which I simply cannot do. I have the coordination of a confused three-year old and to be honest the girl who leads the class makes the steps so hard that it’s often spent, hands on hips, trying to work out what the hell I should be doing. At one point I risked injury by trying to execute a particularly difficult move, tripping and landing. I looked like one of the dancing hippos in Fantasia. Not my most graceful moment.

So step finished, and yoga began. The woman was kooky in a really awesome way, and I enjoyed it until I started to feel like all my major muscles were on fire. I began to feel slightly uncomfortable when she made us clench a foam brick between our thighs and then explained to the only man in the class that this would be his experience of giving birth (woah woah, waiiittt…) it was in fact just dropping the brick.

So I carried on, thighs burning, contorted into all sorts of positions and trying to a) not fall over, b) breathe and c) not break wind (honestly, I spoke to Emma after and she said she felt the same. I think it was the sheer idea of it happening rather than it being a possibility, to clarify!!). Legs burning, arms aching, trying to focus and find my inner serenity. OK.

But then I became unravelled. While lying on my back and breathing deeply, yoga lady started talking about the desert, finding your inner self, not being lonely but being alone, and smelling the desert sage. My face muscles twitched. I thought to myself “you must not laugh!!! She is a nice lady!! She will be upset!!” so I concentrated on counting in to eight on my in breath, and out to eight on the way out. But then she hit a gong and started chanting. I kid you not. It took all I had not to curl up in fits of giggles (I think the incense must have been pickling my brain). I couldn’t look at Emma. On and on she chanted, and then she banged the gong again. I swear, if she hadn’t have been such a lovely woman and if I wasn’t the sort of person that didn’t want to cause a disturbance, I would have died of laughter. It took all I had. I walked out of the class and an old lady who had also participated stopped me and asked if I had enjoyed it, so I made polite pleasantries, all the while having one of the gym guys pulling faces over her shoulder. When she had gone he simply said “you? Yoga!! Girl you’re mental!!!

I think I am, I’m going to go again next week but endeavour to practice not giggling at awkward moments beforehand. Woops!

Men At The Gym

5 Sep

Ok, so I have embraced the gym with gusto, attending horrible classes where you dance with weights and squat so much your thighs burn. I have shrugged the image of Laura the gym avoider, and have lost pounds and become a smaller, more svelte version of myself. Result!

But what I really find difficult is the swimming pool. I’m a massive fan of swimming, much preferring it to getting sweaty in the actual exercise area as I find it calming and relaxing. But people in the pool are a completely different breed. Ok, it’s all well and good if you are in one of those fancy pants gyms with their smug olympic sized pools, all carefully divided into lanes with pointers as to whether you are ‘slow’ or ‘athletic’, but in a gym where the pool is the same size as my front room, it becomes challenging, to say the least.

I drive to the gym longing for the solitude of an empty pool, free from people in general, just me, silently ploughing up and down the calm water, slicing it quietly and counting my lengths away. What I dread is someone in the whirlpool, or worse, a male swimmer. Someone in the whirlpool is bad enough, with the jacuzzi noise being comparable to pneumatic drilling in my head, or a heavy thudding hangover after a big night out. But a man in the pool makes me cross before I even get in. I hover by the door, contemplating going in the sauna, and then feeling like an idiot, I get in the pool anyway.

I’m not particularly self-conscious about my body, or one of those horrible bra burning feminists, but men in the pool are my worst nightmare. My normally calm constitution changes. Oh yes, I get THE RAGE. The reason for this is simple, men are the most inconsiderate swimmers I have ever encountered. Women splash a bit, kids aim for you when they are jumping off the sides, but men are totally oblivious to anyone else. And that is the problem.

Take today for example. I went to the pool because I am single, my friends had plans (how dare they!) and I didn’t fancy hanging out with my dad after he returned from his stag weekend. Exercise was the smaller demon. I got in the pool, and Mr “I am in my thirties but i still have a pre shaving tache” got in after me. There I was, quietly lapping the pool, when he started his ridiculously showing off front crawl. It created a tidal wave, and I nearly drowned. OK, possibly a little over the top, but you get the gist. In such a small pool, this kind of behaviour isn’t helpful for those who aren’t intent on swallowing a large percentage of the communal, not sure who has peed in it pool water.

But, I lasted the duration, grimacing and continuing with my swimming, and soon he tired of me not swooning at his annoying showy swimming, and got out and left. The rest of my swim passed fairly uneventfully, with people getting in and out, and me quietly challenging myself to swim a little further, just a few more lengths, you know the drill.

Until Mr “Mid Life Crisis” got in. I was nearly at the end of my slog, but in my mind I was going to persevere past my 100 lengths goal, and aim for 150. As I got to 90, Mr Crisis got in the pool, wearing the smallest pair of speedos I had ever seen, and showered pornographically for far too long, not dissimilar to Take That in their early nineties music videos, all of which I noted but ignored. He then got in the pool and crossed slowly in front of me, apologising for getting in my way, despite the fact that he had stayed still until i got to him, and then decided to cross. Argh!!

Mr Crisis then proceeded to swim his lengths right next to me, and his stroke of choice was, of course, the butterfly. For the next ten lengths, I breathed strategically to avoid chlorine water inhalation, and edged further and further away. The splashing resembled the last Shamu show I saw at SeaWorld, and the grunting didn’t exactly help to preserve the calm that had descended on my soul as I had whittled away the time. Alas, I couldn’t put up with it, and got out as soon as I reached my goal. Meh!!

So men in my life, if you are reading this and thinking how ridiculous women are, that’s fine. But please, next time you are in the pool, think back to the moment you read this and swim a little less vigorously. Oh yeah, and go shopping for some trunks. Man + speedo. Never a good look. Even if it looks good in the mirror at home. Unless you work for Calvin Klein, give us girls a break and opt for something a little less snug. Over and out.