If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see I’ve just got back from Thyme Cottages in Wiltshire. Whenever I escape London even if it’s for 24 hours, I feel like time stands still a little and I get a new perspective on my life back in London and it was so wonderful to be away with the most incredible group of people this time. The women in my community inspire me daily online but even more so when I get to hang out with them in person…
You can sometimes feel a little lost and alone as a blogger but trips like this remind me that I’m not, when you get to know the girls behind these businesses, blogs, books, Instagrams, you realise just how incredibly inspiring and courageous they are to be confident enough to put themselves out there because we only get one life and we want to live it the best we can and wake up every day trying to be better.
I’m so proud to know these women. In 24 hours at Thyme, I had so many lovely conversations but one conversation over dinner and drinks made me reflect. In my late teens, early twenties; I would have been worrying about drinking a cocktail if I had an early start the next day and would turn down dessert no matter how delicious it was but as I sat their happier than ever this week, with two shoots next week and a slice of the best tiramisu on my plate, it reminded me how grateful I am to have control over my mind and body that I once didn’t have.
My journey to health may be slightly different to the typical weight loss story. I guess its quite the opposite. I was a young aspiring ballet dancer and I became obsessed with food and what I was putting in my body but it was definitely not in a healthy way. I would obsessively calorie count, avoid eating out at restaurants and sometimes insisted on eating a different meal to the rest of family because I was afraid that eating a Spaghetti Bolognese would make me gain fat.
When I look back now it makes me so sad as I see how worried the closest people around me were about me, it wasn’t just the fact that I was underweight, my hair was thinner, I always looked tired and I was starting to lose that bubbly happy girl I always was. Relationships with my friends broke down because I was scared that socialising meant bad food and alcohol and I’d rather be on my own in my safe little bubble where I could control what I put in my body. I was 17 and meant to be turning into a woman when I was actually doing the opposite and didn’t even start my period. I simply couldn’t see the effect it was having on all other areas of my life.
It wasn’t until I started going out with my first boyfriend when I began to relax around food, I didn’t want him thinking I was boring and wouldn’t go for a pizza although it was a huge struggle and I knew when I was dipping back into my own habits. It got to the point where my ballet teacher told me if I didn’t put on weight, they would have to stop me dancing and she told me to go to the shop and eat a muffin.
I remember breaking down at the thought of eating something that was bad for my body in order to keep dancing. I knew I had to get myself healthy and happy by putting on weight but I didn’t want to put on weight simply by eating takeaways, crisps and muffins. This was when I decided to educate myself on nutrition and find ways I could put on weight in a healthy way.
I found bloggers like Deliciously Ella and Madeleine Shaw who used ingredients I had never come across before like coconut oil, nut butters, brown rice pasta, butternut squash and my measly salads with a few prawns and some cucumber started to become feta and quinoa one pots and I found that I could enjoy pasta by using alternatives like brown rice or buckwheat. This is why it makes me sad that health and wellness experts are getting a lot of back lash recently because all they are trying to do is encourage a better way of eating. They definitely played a huge part in helping me fall back in love with food again.
I didn’t accept that I had an issue with my eating for a long time but ultimately it had to come from me. I wanted to be happier and to go out and to live a full life where I could enjoy food but still feel healthy and whole.
There really is a way you can maintain a healthy weight, have glowing skin, a happy mind, a good social life and still not feel like you are restricting yourself. I had to figure out what healthy meant to me. So figure out what healthy means to you. Healthy certainly doesn’t mean low calorie, it doesn’t mean having no energy to walk up the escalators because all you’ve had is a slim world shake for lunch, it isn’t starting a new diet every Monday and it doesn’t mean standing on the scales feeling like crap because you were so “good” all week but then had a heavy night out and ate the contents of your fridge.
It took me a good few years to change my mindset around my food and my body and unfortunately the struggle with my self image and the relationship I had with food led me to give up dancing all together when I was 20 but I truly believe everything happens for a reason and it has led me to where I am today, writing my blog, teaching Pilates and honestly living my dream life, inspiring others with my story and adventures to live well.
When I started to write my blog and put my new way of living out there to everyone I got an overwhelming response from women who were struggling with a balanced lifestyle, who said they were grateful for my honesty and sharing my new balanced lifestyle has really inspired them which is why I’ve decided to share this post today.
So my approach now is every thing in moderation, balance and with the goal to maintain a healthy happy body and mind. There’s no point having a flat stomach if all you do is sit at home weighting nuts and equally there’s no point binging on chocolate chip cookies every night when you wake up the next day feeling awful about yourself. You can gain control of you and I promise you can have it all!
It was really lovely to experience the Botanicals Fresh Care brand again for their UK launch this week and also be a part of the retreat programme by teaching Pilates to the other bloggers on the trip. The Thyme is truly magically, I hope you like the pics and this honest post from me.
Love, Lottie x