I have always been a huge fan of creating lists. Lists about literally anything. Every day I have a to-do list which is ordered by priority, and I also set myself lists of goals to achieve – in a month, a year or five years. This hyper-organised style of living I’m sure isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I personally love to mark my progress and my achievements and to know that I’m always being my most productive self. At the end of December 2016, whilst others were making New Years resolutions, I decided to compile an Undo List for 2017. Read more..
Hey guys! In this post today I’m going to be talking about something very close to my heart.
Weight has been an issue for me for a long time now, since I can remember pretty much, and for the longest time I’ve been insecure about it. This only got worse when I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (see my posts here and here for more on my experience with PCOS) monitoring my weight has become a part of my life, and regular weight checks at my nurse appointments have put me on edge and made me feel awful about myself. Recently I had a mini-revelation about BMI and it’s uselessness with my condition and I know that many others feel the same way!
What exactly is BMI?
BMI stands for Body Mass Index… but what does that even mean? Well by typing this question into google I was able to find the following answer from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention site:
“Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. BMI can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems but it is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual”
… Well that’s interesting… This reference would suggest that BMI isn’t reliable when calculating the health of an individual. Perhaps I’m the only one, but to me that came as a surprise seeing as my doctors seem to rely on it and that there is actually a BMI calculator on the NHS site, which will proceed to tell you if you are 1. Underweight 2. Healthy weight 3. Overweight. A link for this calculator is here but hold on before you type in your data and cry like I did at the results, because I’m about to tell you why you shouldn’t bother.
As I’ve said, over the past few years I’ve done a fair amount of research on BMI and it seems that EVERYONE is asking why? EVERYONE agrees that it isn’t a useful tool for monitoring the health of an individual. For example, this was said by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
“BMI (body mass index), which is based on the height and weight of a person, is an inaccurate measure of body fat content and does not take into account muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition, and racial and sex differences”
So FINALLY someone with medical knowledge is backing up what everyone’s been thinking. At the end of the day, muscle weighs roughly 3 times more than fat, but BMI only takes into consideration your weight and height – which excludes important details such as the weight of your muscles, your bones, your natural body shape and other things which could effect your overall weight such as race and sex.
Now it’s getting personal…
So what’s my problem exactly? Why have I been so obsessed with BMI?
Well, as I mentioned at the beginning I was diagnosed with PCOS at 18 and at that time I was the smallest I’d ever been. I had a cyst on my left ovary the size of a golf ball (just imagine that in your head for a moment… A GOLF BALL?!) and as a result the pain had led to a complete loss of appetite. I fell out of love with food for the first, and hopefully the last, time of my life. My mum was really concerned about me but I couldn’t even force myself to eat… or sleep…. or just function as a normal human being. At this time I was roughly 8 stone 7lbs, the lightest I’ve ever been. When I was diagnosed I was weighed and my BMI was taken… Drum roll please…
Yep. On that day the doctor told me that I was the PERFECT WEIGHT and that with PCOS it is important to remain on the lower end of the scale in order to improve chances of fertility in later life so maybe I should consider losing a little bit more… Well my mum wasn’t happy with that I’ll tell you that much. She said something along the lines of “Look at her – this isn’t healthy! Don’t encourage my daughter to starve herself! She hasn’t been able to eat due to the pain!!!” Yes, the doctor was only doing her job but if she opened her eyes and took one look at me it would only take an educated guess to realise that she shouldn’t have told me to lose even more weight!
That was the day it began. Ever since then I have had to go to the doctors and be weighed every 6 months in order to pick up the pill, which I need to stop the cysts from growing. My weight now fluctuates between 9 stone 7lbs – 10 stone 7lbs (usually depending on my lifestyle), but I do live a healthy lifestyle on the whole. I absolutely dread my appointments because what do I get told?
And of course I get the TOTALLY offensive “Well… You don’t LOOK ten stone” immediately followed by advise to try to lose at least a stone, fantastic. It’s degrading, it’s emotionally traumatic, and what makes it worse: it’s completely pointless! I get myself so worked up over these appointments because even though I know it’s utter rubbish, a stranger still looks me in the eye and tells me to lose weight. It’s so wrong on so many levels GAH.
My alternative to BMI
My weight stays put at roughly ten stone for the majority of the time, regardless of what my body is actually looking like, so I have turned to a different method to maintain my health and that is by using body measurements.
For me, this method is SO much more accurate than BMI when I’m trying to lose a bit of fat or what have you because I’ve always been very muscly, particularly in my legs (I danced a lot from the age of 3 so my legs are firm as rocks!) and so it comes as no surprise that like many of us… I do have some muscle?! When I lose weight I do it through exercise, meaning that my fat turns into muscle. So whilst I reduce in mass, I stay the same in weight. Using a tape measure is honestly a game changer for me.
As an example: since coming home from University 3 weeks ago I have been eating healthier and tracking progress on the scales and it has come up at ten stone and seven pounds every single time. Out of curiosity I also measured my body and I have lost half an inch off my waist and half an inch off my hips!!!
That was sooooo amazing to see as I don’t usually see any progress being made at all! I honestly could have cried!
My advice to you
If I could recommend you all to do just one thing it would be to listen to your body. Don’t punish yourself for gaining a little, adjust your goals, forgive yourself and keep motivated. We’re all only human at the end of the day – we’re not perfect, and we would be boring if we were. Learn to embrace your insecurities and try something new if what used to make you feel good no longer does. I’m so happy to have ditched the scales and tried something which works far, far better for me. Equally, if the scales do work for you – then go crazy! What I’m trying to say is: don’t let numbers rule your life. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t deserve to be happy. Life isn’t as easy as a scientific formula or a maths equation, so don’t treat yourself or your body like one. Look after yourself and be the best you you can be.
If you’re interested in reading more about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, check out my two-part post about it, here and here, where I go into much more detail about how it effects me both physically and psychologically.
*DISCLAIMER* Please remember that every experience is different and if you have any concerns after reading this, ask your GP. I am not a doctor and I know through my own mistakes to never self-diagnose.
I really hope you’ve learned something and maybe gained some self-confidence in reading this post! Do you have any opinions on BMI? Perhaps you have a medical background and have an explanation for it’s use? Please let me know what you think in the comments below!
Thank you so much for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on my other social media accounts, and feel free to comment below or message me for a chat – I’d love to talk to you.
Hey everyone! I hope you’ve all had a great week despite the freak British weather. We’ve had rain, sun, snow and sleet… What is going on?!
This post is a bit different from my usual, but I just HAD to write about my amazing experience at the colour run last weekend! In this post I will be showing you millions of photos and going through what you can expect from a colour run, and why you should take a big step out of your comfort zone and give it a try!
When we booked our tickets for the Colour Run, I didn’t really know what to expect; but one thing which we could all agree on was that we would take part for fun, and probably not run the entire thing. After all, I hadn’t run competitively before and I was concerned about injuring myself. Although 5k probably isn’t very far to most people; I absolutely LOATHE running, purely because I’ve never been very good at it. I always try to stay in shape and healthy because of my PCOS in order to keep on top of my weight, you can find more information on this condition on my previous posts, here and here.
If I’m honest, we totally forgot about the Colour Run up until the week before: I blame this on dissertation stress! So naturally we hadn’t trained AT ALL. The closest thing I did to training was that I managed staying on the bike at the gym for 30 minutes; a new personal best for me. But I didn’t do this with The Colour Run in mind admittedly. But regardless of our lack of preparation, the day finally came and we were all really excited to get messy!
With the purchase of our tickets we received a really nice Colour Run t-shirt and our own running number to wear on the day as modelled on the morning by myself – before being absolutely covered in paint! But thankfully I did manage to get all the paint out and it is like new – so I have a lovely souvenir to remember the day by!
Pssst. I’m wearing my coppery eye shadow look from my Makeup Revolution Flawless Palette!
On the day of the event, we were really worried about the weather as it was forecast to rain randomly throughout the day and the wind was incredibly cold.
But luckily, although the sun was popping in and out throughout the day, it was warm enough to just take a light jacket and to wear shorts! – I really didn’t want to have to wear my nice gym trousers.
The only issue I had with The Colour Run was quite a doozy – no locker rooms or bag holding areas were made available. Obviously we wanted to bring our phones, jackets, drinks, and money at a bare minimum. Considering that they were encouraging us to purchase more paint, you’d think that there would be facilities made available for us to store our possessions safely and out of harms way – but apparently not. So we were forced to strap our boyfriend’s up with backpacks. They weren’t all too happy with that, I’ll just say that much. But our argument stood – a handbag would be much harder to run with than a backpack (CURSE YOU WOMEN’S FASHION).
We were waiting for quite a while before the paint party kicked off, but that was because we arrived so early! It was quite chilly but they had a live DJ who kicked off the party and kept us in good spirits.I can’t quite recall what kicked off the paint party. One minute we were all standing there anticipating the unknown, and the next the air was filled with colours! The atmosphere during the paint party was electric – I completely lost myself to the music and to the wonderful people.
I’m not going to lie, We thoroughly enjoyed covering each other in paint – and other people of course! We were forever catching each other off guard and getting each other’s face – at one point I managed to get it right in Kayne’s ear… Oops! Sorry Kayne! It was so therapeutic after my recent University stresses to just forget about everything and throw my cares to the wind, alongside powdered paint!
The DJs went through a warm up with us, which was pretty hilarious but I probably should have focused on that a bit more than on the paint in hindsight – my legs have been in utter agony all week! Lessons have been learned about the importance of a thorough warm up. 5k really did seem like much less in my mind.Aaaand we’re off!! We began at a leisurely pace and remained as a four… for about two minutes until Kayne and Dan decided to go it alone, as we were running far too slowly for them! This wasn’t a problem until me and Katie realised that they had gone running off with our bloody drinks! Ah well, we soldiered on! Hahaaa! These photos taken by the professional photographers are amazing. I have had a right chuckle looking through these and seeing how Dan and Kayne got on after abandoning us! Hahaaaa! You can see these guys got Dan right in the face here. These paint-throwing check points were dotted out throughout the entire 5k course which was wonderful. It really kept you running! They were all shouting motivational things like “you can do it!” and “keep running!” which was fantastic and most definitely needed – especially on the final lap. I’m really proud of Dan and Kayne! Even with their backpacks, they pushed on and ran the entire thing!!! Unfortunately, my will power is not quite as strong as that and I’ll admit to slowing down to a walking pace a few times. I absolutely love this photo of Katie and me, and Dan has snuck into the background as well. This must have been right at the beginning when we were all together – the fact that we’re still smiling gives that away! Eeeeesh! They got Katie right in the mouth! I tried to hide myself away from the paint and failed terribly – the only way to run is forward. As I’ve said previously, Katie and I didn’t take the race too seriously and just saw it as a bit of fun. Having said that, we’re both fairly competitive and like to push ourselves so I know that we wanted to try our very best if nothing else. HAHAHA!! The photos of us sprinting to the finish line are HILARIOUS! Dan hasn’t heard the end of it. I’m sorry Dan and I love you but… HAHAHA Okay, I’ll stop taking the mickey out of Dan now… this is pretty horrific. But I’m very proud of myself for sprinting to the finish and my goofy face has a good reason behind it! Dan was standing at the finishing line cheering me on and this was me being very happy to see him and the to see the end of the 5k so… Yeah it’s still awful!
Dan and Kayne finished the race in roughly 30 minutes – which is amazing considering their backpacks and their lack of training for it. Katie and I finished in 40 minutes, which is equally impressive given our laid back attitude!
I’m so glad I took part in The Student Colour Run. It was so much fun – even more so than I had imagined – and was a fantastic way to rid ourselves of the academic years stress. It also showed me my potential and what I can do when I put my mind to it. I had no intention of being able to jog or run even half of the race, and the fact that I did has pushed me and reminded me of my level of fitness.
Even if you’re not very athletic… In fact, ESPECIALLY if you’re not very athletic, this kind of race is DEFINITELY for you!! It was so chilled out and relaxed on the day and I would have felt more than comfortable to walk the entire distance – there was no pressure to run or to be competitive which was great! Some people were even going it in jeans!
At the end of it all, the Student Colour Run was an absolutely fantastic experience and me and Dan are already talking about planning our next one. Just because I am very competitive with myself, I will be planning to beat 40 minutes next time – but if you’re simply focused on finishing – that’s totally cool as well!
You can find out more information about the Student Colour Run here – don’t forget: it’s not exclusively just for students, anyone can join! And there is another site for the big Colour Run, which includes more areas, you can find that here.
Have you tried something new recently which you would like to share? Have you ever been to a Colour Run or have done something like this? Are you interested in fitness and are not sure if this is for you? Please leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thank you so much for reading. Don’t forget to follow me on my other social media accounts.
Hello lovely people! This post is a continuation of my previous post on polycystic ovary syndrome, which you can find here. In this post I will talk about my medication, how my PCOS has effected me and how I keep control of the symptoms. I will add the same disclaimer to this post which I added on my last: please remember that every experience is different and if you have any concerns after reading this, ask your GP. I am not a doctor and I know through my own mistakes to never self-diagnose.
I finished my last post by sharing my moment of diagnosis, so I will continue where I left off and share my medication with you. When prescribing me with the contraceptive pill, the doctors had to be sure that I did not experience/ have a family history of migraines or blood clots, as this would be dangerous on the pill. It is also important to note that smoking does increase the risk of blood clots and other complications on the pill – I am silly enough to continue to do so but I plan on quitting within the next year.
As I am lucky to not have a family history of blood clots or experience regular migraines, I was placed on the 3 week contraceptive pill Rigevidon – which means that I take the pill for 3 weeks and on the fourth I don’t take the pill and I get a period. This is great because my periods have finally regulated – yaaay!!Now, I know that this pill isn’t for everyone – some people gain a lot of weight, their skin breaks out, they start getting regular migraines [if this happens contact your GP]! Some people get really bad stomach cramps etc. Basically, this pill isn’t for everyone but I have been on it for roughly 3 years now and I’ve had no issues! From what I have gathered, this is the first pill which the doctors will prescribe on diagnosis. So this pill has been an absolute god send. After the first few months of being on this pill I had to return to the hospital to have another ultrasound to check on the growth of my cysts – and Hurrah! They had significantly reduced in just a few months! Which was obviously a huuuuge relief!
A downside of the pill is that at first they will only release 3 months worth of pills in one appointment for the first year – and only 6 months worth following that. This means that every 6 months I have to go to the doctors to get a new bunch of pills! Although this is annoying, I think it is necessary because they take my blood pressure and my weight and let me know if I am on track and am keeping my lifestyle healthy!
One symptom which the pill hasn’t helped – for me – is the weight gain. One symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome is an increased level of testosterone hormone: which means hair growth and weight gain. Although the pill gives you oestrogen to balance this out, I have found that my weight is still quite difficult to budge – something very common for the contraceptive pill is weight gain.
When you have polycystic ovary syndrome, it is important to maintain a healthy weight [and I do mean a HEALTHY weight – not trying to get yourself as small as possible]. Due to the testosterone, that isn’t always easy [typical]. So when I gain weight, I find it near impossible to get it off! I am a pretty consistent weight at 10 stone, but I do sometimes reach 10 stone 7 and have to work my ass off to get it back down. According to my BMI [something which I don’t agree with because it doesn’t take into consideration muscle mass but that’s a rant for another day] I am only just a healthy weight…I try to keep on top of my weight and fitness so I don’t spiral out of control – but at the same time I don’t want to give myself eating issues by obsessing over my food or my weight so I try not to lose sleep over it. In an ideal world I would like to be 8 stone 7 or 9 stone in order to be safely within the ‘healthy’ range but it is SO HARD to work it all off I’m telling you. I’ve been 10 stone for as long as I can remember and I can’t imagine it changing any time soon.
In order to stay on top of my weight I try to eat healthy fruit and vegetables as snacks and get in green tea when I can – I also avoid eating too much take away. I try to exercise as much as possible – I really enjoy the gym, yoga, dancing, and I try to enjoy running… It hasn’t been successful yet but hopefully one day!If you would like to know more facts about PCOS please follow this link for official information from the NHS.
I hope this post has been informative and you have all learned a little something or have been able to relate to some of my experiences. Please spread the word so that others can find the medical help they need!
If you can think of any more tips and suggestions in reference to living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, let me know in the comments! I am no doctor, and knowledge is power!
Thank you so much for reading. Don’t forget to follow me on my other social media accounts. Links are posted in the sidebar.
Hi everyone, this post today is a little different from my usual posts about beauty and life at university as I will be discussing something which effects so many of us: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – or PCOS for short. It sounds very scary and clinical but it honestly isn’t that daunting.
Now you may be asking yourself: why is she writing about something so personal? or why should I read a post like this? Well, you may be shocked to know that it is thought to affect at least one in five women in the UK – so the chances are that at least one member of your family or friends have it. So I think it is important to spread the word about PCOS so that people are aware of the symptoms; and also to break the taboo revolving around female illness and their bodies. The following image sums up how I would like this subject to be approached and how open I try to be about my own body:
So with that long introduction aside: In this post I will be discussing my own personal experience with PCOS – my initial symptoms, why I felt the need to go to the doctors and the diagnosis experience. Due to the length of this topic I have chopped the post into two – so in my next post I will discuss my life with PCOS and how it has been effected since the day of diagnosis. Please remember that every experience is different and if you have any concerns after reading this, ask your GP. I am not a doctor and I know through my own mistakes to never self-diagnose.
My PCOS journey began at age 16: all my friends had long started having periods and I was feeling left out and a little worried about why I was so late. I was very athletic – I danced for a minimum of 17 hours a week; 9 of which were on a Saturday and when my Mum was younger she was athletic and didn’t start her period until the age of 17 – so I chalked up my late start up to that.
One day we were doing stretching exercises before our ballet class [I was wearing the signature pale pink tights with a leotard in the box splits…. Nice and exposed. *winces at the traumatic memory* when all of a sudden I felt a warm sensation at my crotch, as though I was weeing myself. Having had many informative conversations with my friends I knew that the day had finally come. I excused myself from class and took a friend with me, and she coached me through the bathroom door the complicated procedure of attaching a sanitary towel to my pants.
After my first period, I waited with anticipation for my next…. I waited and waited and waited. Four months went by until it came again. I was embarrassed and didn’t tell anyone about this and told myself that my periods must just be irregular. I was noticing quite a bit of weight gain and skin breakouts – not helped by the fact that I was no longer dancing thanks to Sixth form and my new part time job – so once again, I chalked my weight gain and bad skin up to a lack of exercise.
My gaps between periods were becoming larger and larger each time – at one point I went half a year without one. When I was due I was having excruciating pain, but no blood. There were times when I would make the hour journey to sixth form, to have to turn back in agony. On one of these occasions my mum sternly told me that I need to book an emergency doctors appointment because something was clearly wrong for me to be in so much pain and so lethargic at the end of the day, at this point I was 18. So I dragged my sorry self to the doctors surgery, my stomach knotted with cramps, sweat covering my entire body. The doctor poked my tender abdomen [OUCH] and diagnosed me with indigestion and prescribed me with Gaviscon… GREAAAT.
I was too timid to say anything so I took the gaviscon and shuffled home. My mum, for obvious reasons, wasn’t content with that diagnosis and booked me an appointment with a female doctor who came recommended for issues like mine. I obviously didn’t hold out much hope, having been pretty much dismissed as a hypochondriac but I went anyway, and was told that from the sounds of my symptoms: weight gain, very painful and irregular periods and excess hair growth, she thought I had polycystic ovary syndrome and booked an ultrasound for me at the hospital.
At this point I was TERRIFIED. I’ve always been very healthy and have never been diagnosed with anything so permanent in all my life. The ultrasound experience was interesting. Apparently my bladder wasn’t full enough so I had to have an internal examination [at this point I once again hadn’t had a period in several months], and during the process I felt a bursting sensation and I came on my period, covering her “wand” as she called it in blood.
The consultant was really understanding and let me go ahead and clean up. When I returned she informed me that the wand and actually burst one of the cysts on my left ovary which she managed to measure before it happened – and it was the size of a golf ball! EEK! No wonder I was in so much pain! So I finally had my answer: I had polycystic ovary syndrome and my left ovary is the issue. Following my ultrasound I had to have a blood test to be 100% sure before they prescribed me with medication.
In my next post I will be discussing the medication which I am on, the lifestyle I lead and how I try to deal with the symptoms of PCOS.
If you would like to know more facts about PCOS please follow this link for official information from the NHS.
Thank you so much for reading this everyone – I hope you have a giggle at my cringy period experiences and find this post informative! Please spread the word so that others can find the medical help they need!
Do you suffer from PCOS? Do you know anyone who does? Have you found any tips to deal with the symptoms? Let me know in the comments!
Thank you so much for reading. Don’t forget to follow me on my other social media accounts. Links are posted in the sidebar. And stay tuned for my next post on PCOS.