The Joy of Crossfit

21 Aug

I love it when my friends send me emails saying “let’s do this”. As long as I don’t see a giant price tag I have a tendancy to just say yes and suffer the consequences later (see me running the London Marathon in 2013).

So in July Claudette sent me a Groupon link to a 30 day trial of Crossfit at the Royal Docks Crossfit Gym in Custom House for £30. Well with a bargain like that, how could I say no.

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For those that don’t know, Crossfit is a brand of fitness which incorporated HiiT, Olympic lifting, power lifting, calisthenics and various other techniques to give an all round work out and help you get fitter and stronger.

Watch some of the videos on YouTube. It is hardcore.  Also check out this super inspirational story. super inspiration

I am not a strong person. I can’t do push ups or pull ups and I hate burpees with a passion so I wasn’t sure how well I’d do in these sessions but if you don’t try you don’t know.

The aim was to take full advantage of the sessions by going three times a week, which was the maximum allowed on the deal.

We started on a Friday evening with a mandatory intro session which included a warm up, an explanation of the move we would be using that day. This was then followed by a strength building segment and then the Workout of the day (WOD). The session ended with a stabilisation session. All sessions ran in this format and the WOD would always be posted up on a board so you knew right away what you were in for.

I was really impressed with how the coaches taught the sessions. If ever I was struggling they would be right there on hand to either sharpen my technique or give me an adjustment to help make it easier but just as effective.

David and Bart were the main coaches and their enthusiasm for teaching the sessions really helped when I was struggling or not really feeling it. Everyone was greeted with a high five and a big smile.

The hardest parts of the sessions were the WOD’s. It would be a circuit of anything up to 30 mins and would involved the technique learnt in the session, HiiT and bodyweight excerises generally for as many rounds/reps as possible or AMRAP. I must say there is an acronym for everything in Crossfit lol.

I feel these circuits are designed to push you to the limit. Many times at the end of the session I’d just want to collapse on the floor and sleep to recover, the doms were hell but I knew it was worth it.

Over the 4 weeks I found myself getting stronger. By the last week I found my burpees were much more controlled and weren’t as awful. I still can’t do a pull up but I found myself hanging from a bar at least being able to lift my legs up higher.

My biggest challenge during the sessions was in my third week when they introduced me to box jumps. I’ve always been in awe of people who can jump up on boxes with what looks like minimal effort. I could never do that. The box was 20 inches high, just over 1.5 feet. I looked at it and braced myself and tried to jump.  My feet barely left the ground. I just ended up with my knees slamming onto the box very hard.

It didn’t even hurt but in that moment I felt defeated. My mind was clearly in the wrong place that day. David rushed over to check I was ok and I just teared up.  He pretty much told me to fix up, albeit in a very kind way. Still can’t believe I cried. 😦

We sorted me out a shorter platform using weight plates. It wasn’t that much shorter but it was manageable and I completed the work out. I felt so useless.  I wasn’t special or the only one using a shorter platform but I was super hard on myself.

I wrote a very sorrowful facebook post that evening and im very grateful to the encouragement my friends showed me.

Next session I was in a better place and I don’t think it was a coincident that the whole session seemed to be focused around box jumps. I used the proper box, at the prescribed height and towards the end of the session I even added an extra plate which I think gave me an extra 2 inches. I did 110 box jumps by my calculations.

This was my face at the end of the session.

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Once again I proved to myself I can do anything I put my mind to.

It showed me that as well as a strong body, I need a strong mind and being in the right place mentally is so important. In my last session we did box jumps again and I stacked it very early on but because my mind was right I was able to just get up and carry on. The bruise is very sore now though.

I would have loved to carry on but full membership is just too expensive for me at the moment at over £100 a month it would be too much of a push right now. I’ll be back as soon as I can afford it.

Here is a link to the Groupon deal for anyone interested. It’s closed for the moment but hopefully they’ll run the offer again. It is fully worth it.

David and Bart, I’ll see you guys again soon.

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Review: Oppo sugar free luxury icecream

18 Aug

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I love ice cream. I like nothing better than sitting and munching my way through a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. All of it. It’s a contributing factor to my weight.
Being sugar free means no icecream. Sugar is what helps ice cream form. It’s a key component, but I’ve come to realise there is a yummy alternative to pretty much everything I’ve cut out, be it home made or shop brought.

I can’t remember if someone recommended Oppo to me or if I came across it on the interwebs. Either way, when I saw it in my local Holland and Barratt I had to give it a go. With no refined sugars and only natural ingredients, it ticked all the boxes.

It came in on the pricier side of £5.99 for 500ml but what the hey, I wanted it and what Leeanne wants, Leeanne gets.

A little bit of reading about Oppo told me that it founders came up with the idea after a trip where they survived on the fruits of a country they were trekking and realised how good living off the fat of the land could be.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Salted Caramel with Lucuma (what even is that anyway?). The ‘gold of the Incas’ apparently. A fruit loaded with goodness that has a sweet, yet salty caramel taste. Those Incas knew tasty when they came across it.

I was so excited to taste the ice cream I grabbed a spoon as soon as I got home.
My mouth is watering as I write this. Slightly soft from the journey home I went to my happy place as I tried the first mouthful. So creamy with fab hints of caramel. Rich and full of flavour, sweet but not over sweet and it tasted real. It didn’t taste like a weird frozen yogurt substitute for ice cream, it tastes like real ice cream. Blindfold me and I’d think I was eating a Häagen daaz or Carte d’or.

It took all my might to only have a few spoonfuls.

I was super impressed with the nutrional info for the icecream. Taken from the website:

Salted Caramel with Lucuma
Energy (Kcal): 77.3
Fat (g): 3.8
of which saturates(g): 2.8
Carbohydrate (g): 7.6
of which sugars (g): 6.7
Protein (g): 3.2 Sodium (g) 0.1

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Nice. And definitely guilt free.

It’s a very happy treat for me and I’ve been very good at not scoffing the entire tub. I’m defo going to keep an eye out for other flavours and this may just be my regular payday sweet treat.

Well done to the makers of Oppo. What a winner!

You can find Oppo at Holland and Barratt, Waitrose, Ocado and Whole Foods.

Let her eat cake

17 Aug

One of the things I’ve missed during my sugar free period is cake! I love a good cake. Sponge, icing, butter cream, jam. All of it.

Whenever there is a celebration, there is cake, it’s social, it brings people together and people think you’re weird when you say “no thanks”.

Over the weekend I headed off to a family celebration and there was going to be a cake baked by my cousin. I asked if she could do a sugar free one (only half joking) and she laughed in my face (over Facebook messenger) :-(.

I know a few people in the family are trying to eat less sugar and I couldn’t have all of us missing out so I decided to bake my own sugar free cake.

I AM NOT A BAKER. Let’s make that clear. I have people who make cakes for me when need be. I do not make the cakes. But in a bid to be independent I went for it.

I found a recipe for lemon drizzle on BBC Good Food and thought it looked good. Made some additions and adaptations and voila.

My adaptations were to swap sunflower oil for coconut oil and I didn’t use any milk. I used Yeo Valley natural yogurt (not fat free) and I also used stevia instead of xylitol.

I added raisins also some mixed seeds, because why not.

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I must admit I was quite impressed. I’m not a massive fan of stevia. I don’t like that after taste but I didn’t notice it in the cake.

It rose quite a lot in the oven but sunk soon after.

It definitely passed the taste test with everyone at my nans giving it a go and all of us being pleasantly surprised at how yummy it was.

It came out very brown though and looked more like a malt loaf than a cake but that’s not really a complaint.

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As of today I have only a teeny square left which might be my little treat this evening.

I’d definitely make this cake again. It was quickish and very easy to make and really satisfied my need for cake. Yay!

P.s. I also discovered ready salted hula hoops are sugar free too. Another win!

Sugar Addiction

13 Aug

So six weeks ago I gave up sugar. It came off the back of a usual binge where I’d bought a £1 giant bar of chocolate, sweet and salty popcorn and a loaf of soreen.  I ate the popcorn and chocolate right away and decided to save the soreen for after dinner as a little treat (lolz).

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By the time I’d eaten dinner I knew I had to stop. As I said in my previous post I’m getting married and when I went wedding dress shopping I found my dress but there was a possibility I’d have to buy it in a plus size. That would be an extra £400. Why, knowing all this, was I still eating in such a shocking way?

Sometimes you just reach that point where enough is enough.

I didn’t think about it or plan it. I just went straight cold turkey. No provisions or replacements I just had to quit my crack habit right there and then.

So although in my head and heart I was ready, I hadn’t been prepared for the effects of 30.5 years of sugar leaving my body. I hadn’t expected the cravings, the headaches or mood swings. 

After a day or two someone brought Krispy Kreme donuts into the office. There were actual tears in my eyes, but I held fast. I wanted one so badly, I felt sick.

I didn’t have one and im pretty proud of my will power. As much as it felt like it actually hurt me to say no, I think even after just a couple of days I knew I could do this. Donut-gate aside, I felt pretty good those first few days.

I stocked up on some goods which I’ll list at the end, and created a sugar free living pinterest board. There was no reason I couldn’t have goodies. They just needed to be refined sugar free. I was allowing myself honey and agave nectar at first, but I’ve mostly phased that out. Unless something is super bland then I’m not adding it.

At the one week mark, things went downhill. I had two to three days of intense headaches. I’m not a headache person so I knew this was a result of cutting out the nasty sugar. I was so grumpy, like PMS but worse. I couldn’t concentrate and I was mean. It was rough but then came the calm.

As the sugar left my system the cravings stopped. This is no longer a willpower jobby. I actually don’t want chocolate and crap. No biscuits,  no crisps, no juice.  Nothing.

I tell you what, it’s a revelation. I grew up putting tablespoons of sugar on my cereal or in my hot chocolate. Cream on everything. Cake and cheesecake and whole trifles.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I now dislike this stuff. I just don’t NEED it any more and I don’t really want it as much.

My snacks have been nuts and fruit. Hummus and olives. Nak’d bars save me if I’m caught out. I’ve been making peanut protein balls (recipes to follow), sugar free cocoa and coconut brownies, savoury homemade popcorn, gorgeous chia seed puddings. So I’m getting sweetness in just without the crack habit. 

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My homemade sugar free brownie

I’ve also given up booze. I miss Gin.  Need to check if it’s sugar free. (Checked and Gin with soda water and lemon is in)

Things I miss:
Ice cream. It’s summer and I want cold, creamy and refreshing. But I’ve been give  some faux ice cream recipes which I’ll try and let you know about.

Cake: cos everyone loves cake, but again I’ve got some recipes to try.

Slips ups:
Any slip ups have been intentional. A friend had a birthday dinner at an all you can eat buffet and I just thought “well I’m not gonna be able to avoid it here so I’m going all in”. Man it was good. Until the end, when I was so high off sugar that I thought I was going to die. Literally buzzing. A headache like I’d been drinking all night. I was hyper. And I felt so sick I thought I was going to vomit. Was fine the next up day but it was a reminder how bad all this stuff is.

We also had a family lunch and my dad bought a bottle of champagne as a  celebration. I got very tipsy very quickly on just a glass.

I have to be realistic.  There are going to be times where it’s going to be impossible to not have sugars but I’m pretty confident that these will be far and few between and I can control my portions and the amount I’m consuming. And on a hot day I might just want a cocktail or an ice lolly. I’m only human.

Lots of people have been asking me about going sugar free. I’m no expert, I know pretty much nothing but can offer whats worked for me, sharing recipes and support. To that end, I recently started a Whats App group where a group of us are working together to crack our sugar addictions and get a bit fitter. With a challenge to be sugar free by the end of August.

I think I’ll run the challenge monthly.

Look out for tidbits from the group. I’ll be posting my snack recipes as well because some of this stuff is so damn tasty.

The Long Road

11 Aug

*taps on screen*

Is anyone out there? I know it’s been a while. I’ve been busy, I hope you can forgive me.

I had doubts about resurrecting From Fat to Phat. What would you all think of me. I got so far into my journey,  you were all routing for me. I was routing for me and then I just stopped. Stopped caring, stopped wanting. Just stopped.

What happens when you stop? All habits creep back in. Lack of exercise. Bad eating. The clothes get tighter. The face gets fuller. The shame grows.  You stay in denial.  So much denial. I ran a marathon, boxed, lost over 3 stone. How could I let all that slip away.

But there comes a point where you have to try again.  So for the past 8 months I’ve been trying to try again.

I started back in January and it began with a little bet between my boss and I. At that point I was even heavier than I was when all this began. It pains me to put those numbers out there, so I won’t. 
It started quite well actually, I managed to lose just under a stone. But around Easter I hurt my foot cheering at the London Marathon, could barely walk for weeks and probably due to my lack of eating right and exercise, I kept on getting sick. Back on came 8lbs.

Started exercising again in June but my eating was out of control.  I’d come home in the evening and pick up a big bar of chocolate on the way. Eat it before dinner and then have dinner followed by a sweet or dessert.

I’m getting marred next year and my tipping point was being told that I might have to pay more to order a plus sized dress. I finally had enough and decided I would have to go a bit cold turkey. I cut out all refined sugars and most processed food. Got back on the exercise properly. Running,  swimming and crossfit.

That was about 5 weeks ago and I’ve finally made a dent.

In January I was given a Pandora charm bracelet for my birthday and for every 10lbs I lost I decided I would by myself a charm. I got the first charm in February. I bought my second charm today 20lbs off! It took me long enough!

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I picked the letter L. It means more than Leeanne. It meaning loving and living life to the fullest.  Looking forward and not back and learning to be the best me.
So here we go again, hopefully you’ll join me as I get started again. 🙂

The forgotten blog

26 Nov

Well, not quite, more like the “slipping into old habits and feeling guilty about it so not posting” blog.

Went to the gym today. My fitness levels are disgustingly low.

I haven’t been running, I stopped boxing about 3 weeks ago and I haven’t found a new challenge to keep me motivated.

I want to continue boxing but need a new place to train.

I’ve been eating and  drinking… A lot.

I’ve put on weight. Not all of it. About a stone. A stone too much.

I just got bored and scared. When I was at my lightest I was very scared that I wasn’t me any more. So I started back on the route of self sabotage. Crying in front of the mirror cos I had no boobs wasn’t fun.

But the road to success is never straight, I control my actions. If I want to be fit, healthy and strong I can’t allow me fears to take over.

I’ve achieved a hell of a lot this year and I want to end on a high not a low or middle.

Today I reconfirm that I will reach my goals, I will continue to be the fittest and healthiest I have been and my road to happiness will become a bit more travelled.

Now looking for people to carry on inspiring me and I will carry in inspiring myself. I ran a fricking marathon this year.

If there is anyone who wants to recommit to their fitness and happiness goals, do it in my comments or email me, tweet me, Facebook me and let’s do it together.

Xxx

Zero Appetite

4 Aug

“The thing is YOU have to want it. YOU have to be hungry for the amazing benefits leading a healthy and active lifestyle has to offer!”

I’ve been getting some great motivational support from the write of the blog “This Woman’s Word“, encouragement and advice when I’ve spoken to her about my lack of game recently.

Last night she sent me a link to one of her posts containing the above quote.

The whole post was outstanding but that line hit me in the face like a brick. I’ve lost my appetite and desire to become a better me, it all feels like a chore, like I’m forcing myself and like I’m living a lie.

I don’t want to be like I was before, but my hunger to be the best I can has dissipated. Why? Laziness, complacency? I don’t really know.

I do know that I do not want to be where I was 18months ago and that if I’m not careful I’ll be back there by the end of the year.

So some small, SMART goals have been set. I’ll see how it goes, I’m hoping once I start the appetite will come back and once I see progress again, I’ll be starving for more.

You can read the full blog post here.

Thanks Danielle.

What do you do…

31 Jul

When you’re training for a marathon but have absolutely no inclination to run?

Run anyway? Lets see if I can pull in 10miles from work to home this evening.

Was talking to a friend on twitter yesterday about lack of focus. The conclusion was reached that we need a military style commando to kick us up the bum. Any takers?

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Sabotage!

29 Jul

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What is Self-Sabotage?

Behaviour is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals.

The most common self-sabotaging behaviours are procrastination, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating in the face of weight concerns, and self-injury such as cutting.

These acts may seem helpful in the moment, but ultimately undermine us, especially when we engage in them repeatedly.

That is all.

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Battles and wars!

16 Jul

Lets not talk about my last blog post and the epic failure of that challenge I set myself.

Let’s talk about a different challenge I set myself and succeeded at!

Back in May I tweeted about White Collar Boxing and the fact that I was going to train for 9 weeks and then get in the ring.

Since then I have trained so, so hard. Three times a week I hit up the gym in Star Lane and trained with some of London’s finest boxing trainers and fighters.

I was the tallest and heaviest lady so I did wonder if they would need to match me up with a guy but they found a “close” match for me. At least based on ability.

We were both rubbish haha.

Training consisted of hot evenings in a boxing gym in East London, shadow boxing, practise against the bags. Core work galore. As the weather for hotter the sessions got harder. There were times I would come out of a session wanting to cry from the intensity. Feeling sick and tired, but perseverance is the key.

Having been matched with my opponent we no longer partnered up in any of the sessions. She was a nice enough lady but in total honest her style baffled me. She struggled to find her natural stance as orthodox or south paw. I felt like she jumped in to her punches, not thinking them through, just reacting to my height and weight. It worried me.

It seemed to me that boxing should be about control and thought. Not just hitting the person in front of you.

I found that I felt much slower than her as I was thinking about my moves and where I could hit her. (she may have been thinking this too but obviously I’m not in her brain.

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Fight night arrived and fight music chosen, I rocked up to the Troxy in East London in suddenly felt very nervous. Even though I had 100% improved over the weeks, I was still very basic in my training. I don’t think the word Novice covered. But I had to believe!

I was very lucky that a friend of mine and an experience MMA fighter and trainer was acting as corner man to one of the other fighters, so I took advantage of him and he became my corner man too. He warmed me up, took me through techniques and gave me the belief.

I was due to fight at 8.40pm and once the event had started I took some time out to watch some of the friends I had made during training take on their opponents. Having all the fighters come from one pool meant it was hard to pick sides in but some cases I had really bonded with one of the fighters so my allegiances were clear in my cheering.

If I’m honest I don’t really remember too much of the fight. I was in the zone. There are photos of me looking like I’m ready to end someone. Chris had found me the perfect song enter the ring to. It started of with Gangnam Style and then went in to a grime mix. I had someone message me saying that track made them sit up and take notice.

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So Round one went by in a flash. The mantra was to get the first hit. I don’t know if I did. I remember I knocked her off balance though. Then she knocked me off balance. That might have been round two.

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Round two I was a mess. She had me up! I just remember feeling really angry towards her and I forgot all my training. Then during a flurry of her punches I heard the ref call for a stop, but she got one more hit in. This p*ssed me off no end, so I saw red and then punched her. All I heard was lots of boos and then the ref put my in my corner counted to 8 and told me not to do it again, I knew I had done wrong. I was so angry with myself.

On to round 3, I felt more in control, the advice my corner man gave me was to jab, jab, jab. That’s what I tried to do. I think I got a few more hits in and she seemed a bit more on the run.

The fight ended and She was declared the winner. I was so disappointed, mainly in myself. I should not have lost control like I did. Where did all my tactics go? I was in tears, but tears of anger.

I got back up to the changing room and to be honest, every one seemed surprised I lost. I had the skills to win but I let emotion take over.

But the love I got from everyone when I went to meet them after was immense. I had a great turn out of family and friends.

I didn’t win my fight but I’m bang on a rematch. I also feel that this is something I might just be good at. I loved the training and I loved being in the ring.

So now that the initial part of this challenge is out of the way, what’s next.

More training!

Goals don’t stop after just one phase. Next up between now and the end of the year is another half and full marathon, to begin to get a real handle on this boxing thing. Not to mention some half naked prancing around at Notting Hill carnival just weeks away.

I didn’t win the battle but the war ain’t over just yet!

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