Operation Fit and Fabulous

I first joined Twitter about a million years ago (@thecupcake_girl if you want to follow me and don’t already) back in the dim and distant past that was April 2009 but it was only earlier this year that I started using it “properly”.  I did all the normal things, following people my friends followed, randomly tweeted at a few celebrities (why not? If they make a public comment then I’m entitled to respond!) and slowly but surely, a profile was created.

Now I have a list of my main Twitter girls who include the fabulous BeachBumBeauty, the wonderful DexterousDiva and gorgeous Sarah’s Scribbles which is the first place I check when I look at Twitter to see what is going on in my little online world.  But as of a week ago there is also a hashtag which  regularly check: #operationfitandfabulous.  Operation Fit and Fabulous was born on a Sunday afternoon during a discussion on the merits of buying Christmas presents of tins of Quality Street early (decided it was possibly not the best idea!).  We all wanted to lose some weight or get more toned up and so the already fabulous BeachBumBeauty came up with Operation Fit and Fabulous.

BeachBumBeauty is well aware of the power of the team mentality.  As a member of Team Bangs on the Run 1 and 2 she has now trained for two half-marathons (she was unable to participate in the first, the Semi de Paris, due to a back injury) and if the recent Twitter posts are anything to go by, the team and support it provides has been a massive help to all the participants.  As such she suggested that we band together to form Operation Fit and Fabulous.

The focus of Operation Fit and Fabulous is not so much losing weight (although that is a primary concern of mine as I have previously written) but feeling fabulous.  I understand being fabulous as being healthy and comfortable in my own skin, something which I haven’t been in about five and a half years.

The point of this plan isn’t to make major changes because to be blunt, we’ve all been there, done that and failed.  So we’re making slow, gradual changes by way of missions that BeachBumBeauty is setting us each week.  Each one is a small manageable task which over the lifetime of Operation Fit and Fabulous should add up to a new healthier lifestyle and a happier, more confident me.

Our first missions are ones that we all hear constantly as the backbone of good health:

  1. Drink 2 Litres of water a day;
  2. Body brush every morning (OK, this one is not such a basic tenet of good health but is meant to do wonders for cellulite);
  3. Get 8 hours’ sleep a night;
  4. Exercise for an hour at least three times a week;
  5. Be kind to yourself.

Now, due to feeling revolting over the past week due to my previously blogged about issues with gluten (actually feeling revolting would have been a step up from how I’ve been feeling) I haven’t really started this week’s missions so I’m going to start today and run a week behind everyone else.  I also know which of these first week’s missions I am going to find the hardest: being kind to myself.  It’s really not my strong point and it’s something that I have been working on for a while….

So for me, week one starts today!  I’m going to boggle some brains by measuring my vital statistics over the next couple of months and alongside the standard measurements, I’m going to include an Energyometer, a rating of my energy levels from 1 to 10.  Obviously I’m kind of hoping that over the next couple of months this is going to go up!

So my starting measurements are (and please try to curb any instincts to laugh):

  • Upper arm: 12″
  • Chest: 39″
  • Waist: 32″
  • Hips: 42″
  • Thigh: 24″
  • Weight: 10st 11 lbs
  • BMI: 25.46 (overweight)
  • Energy level: Honestly, 3 would be generous most days! I spend my life wanting to sleep…

In an ideal world I’d like to be the 8st 7lb I was when I moved back to Birmingham 6 years ago and started work but in reality I’d be happy at 9st.  In fact I’ll be happy when I can look in the mirror and be happy with the person I see there…

If anyone else wants to join in with Operation Fit and Fabulous then please go to BeachBumBeauty’s Operation Fit and Fabulous page and leave a comment with your name, Twitter ID (if you have one, it’s a great way to connect with the other girls on the plan and get some support when you’re having a bad day), your goals, strengths, weaknesses, favourite type of exercise and the music you listen to when you’re exercising.

After all, what have you got to lose?

Average Josephine x


The dark side of the online life

I read something that really disturbed and upset me last night.  It was a blog post by a food blogger I really admire, Shauna James Ahern, better known as Gluten Free Girl.  Diagnosed as suffering from celiac disease, she has to live gluten free.  This is completely different to the “I’m gluten intolerant” brigade, she is actually allergic to it and even small amounts of gluten can make her really quite ill, actually damaging her small intestine.  But what Shauna has done is turn something that many would see as a disability or an impediment to normal life and used her talents as a writer to publicise her gluten-free life and become a best selling author (the cookbook she wrote with her chef husband, Danny, was named by the New York Times as among the best cookbooks of 2010).

I admire the way Shauna lives her life.  She is unapologetic about her gluten-free stance (as she should be, this is not optional for her) and I was truely horrified to read her most recent post.  Titled simply “warm brown rice and grilled vegetable salad” I was expecting a salad recipe and some of Shauna’s normal wonderful prose, perhaps about her recent flying trip to New Orleans to attend the International Food Bloggers Conference where she was a guest speaker.  What she wrote about was her trip but also about some of the things she and her husband experience on a regular basis as a consequence of their life online.

Shauna is the victim (although I hate that word) of what are known in the online community as “trolls”.  Trolls are hard to explain but they are the people who, seemingly for the sheer pleasure of being evil to people, post horrible, vile comments to bloggers.  I’m lucky to have avoided them to date (a blog with 14 posts doesn’t really attract trolls) but it is something that I am prepared for.  But when you are being called fat and ugly, your husband is being called retarded and that these trolls hope paedophiles get your children, you start to question, is it worth it and who are these people?

This is something Shauna faces everyday both on Twitter and through her e-mail account associated with her blog and these comments, and worse, are from this blog post I mentioned and I’m still in shock that people could actually say these things.  As a general rule I believe that people are inherently good although I’m beginning to think I might be wrong in this assumption.  Between this and the recent rioting and destruction that occurred in both London and Birmingham, a lot of which seemed to be due to no other reason than they could, there seems to be a lot more darkness in the current population than I can fathom.

That’s not to say there aren’t moments that restore my faith in humanity.  When my Dad lost his wallet in the States a couple of years back, he cancelled the cards and wrote off the cash as lost but some weeks after he returned to the UK he received an e-mail from a woman in the town where he had left his wallet.  She had traced him through his golf membership card, contacting the golf club who sent her his e-mail address.  She sent the wallet back with the same amount of cash in as when he lost it less as my Dad had instructed, enough to cover the postage.  She even included the receipt.  She was also truely amazed when Dad sent her flowers to say thank you.  They exchange Christmas cards now.

But it is so difficult to reconcile the fact that we, as a species, are capable of such extremes of behaviour.  And unfortunately most of the time it is the bad that we remember the most.  So do you agree with me that people are inherently good or do you think that it is a bit more ambiguous than that?

Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Average Josephine x