Having a fat day

You wake up in the morning, you look in the mirror and you you just feel crap. We’ve all been there. Nine times out of ten, nothing has changed from the day before, but you just feel a bit fluffier, a bit softer and a bit, well, fat.

The most annoying cases are when you’ve eaten really healthily the day before, you had some successful workouts through the weeks, and yet you still feel like you’ve gained weight. Surely you don’t deserve this? You’ve been so good! The more understandable situation is when you’ve had a bit of a blowout the day before… you swear you can almost see that sticky toffee pudding protruding from your mid-line.

But it’s all in our heads. Yes maybe you ate a ridiculous amount of food the day before, but rest assure it’s not going to miraculously turn into fat within 24 hours. Usually what’s happened is that you’ve eaten a lot of carbs and salt and your body’s holding onto a bit of extra water so you are probably a bit puffier than the day before but it’s not going to last.

And in the case where you’ve been really ‘good’ with your food choices, you’re probably just a bit bloated. Whatever food you eat will affect how flat your stomach is regardless of whether it’s a pizza or broccoli. And vegetables and fruit are all fibre-tastic and can cause your body to bloat as it slowly breaks it all down. But temporarily again.

I’ve had my fair share of fat days. In the past I’ve stood in front of the mirror and picked and prodded different parts of my body, allowing myself to get down about it and vowing to eat “clean” for the rest of the week. If you let it bother you, it can really put a dampener on your day and your confidence, but now I’ve just learnt to deal with these days in a more positive way.

In fact I hate the term “fat days”, despite using it throughout this post. The word “fat” is not a particularly great word.fat

And in reality, you’re not fat on fat days. You just feel like you’ve put on weight – whether that weight is actual fat or not is almost a moot point: you believe you’re appearance is worse than it was yesterday.

Here are some tips I find helps me get over those annoying fat days:

  • Move away from the mirror. Stop poking, prodding and staring. Accept that you’re not happy with how you look but stop dwelling on it.
  • Focus instead on what you are happy with that day. When I have a fat day I try and make sure I have a good hair day for example (I know this sounds like such a stupid thing but it works for me!)
  • Wear an outfit that makes you feel good. I have a pair of jeans I don’t go anywhere near when I’m feeling heavier. Instead I’ll wear a pretty dress or something that isn’t close-fitting. It’s got to be comfortable and make me feel good.
  • Eat normally. Don’t vow to never eat a cupcake again. Don’t miss out on breakfast. Just eat what you normally would. Enjoy good nutritious food and lots of water. If you are holding onto extra water because you had a big salty meal the day before then the extra hydration will help wash that out and help readjust your body to how it was before.
  • Don’t weigh yourself. Your body’s weight fluctuates every single day. My weight goes up one or two pounds and that’s just life. Hormones, food, exercise, hydration, stress… it all affects how much you’ll weigh in any given day. And if you think you’re heavier just ignore the scales because it could just put you in a worse mood about yourself – however realistic that weight is to normality.

The best piece of advice I always give myself is: look at yourself like your best friend, mum or partner looks at you. They don’t zoom into your thighs or supposed muffin top. They look at the whole of you and see only the good stuff – because really there is more good stuff than anything else. Only you know your flaws and only you focus on them. I guarantee if you mentioned your “fat day” to someone they’d have no idea. But regardless of whether other people notice or not, you still feel it and it can affect your confidence. Just don’t let it drag you down. It’s a transient thing. If you are trying to lose weight, just see it as a hurdle in the road. Use it to keep motivating you forward to make healthy decisions but again, don’t let it consume you or make you think you’ve failed. Progress is not a linear line after all.

Just a few of my thoughts today, when I’m having a fat day myself 😉

Have you ever had a “fat day”?

Are you confident about the way you look?

How do you boost your confidence?

Chepstow Stampede 10k (Obstacle Mud Run) and foodie fun

I’ve never done a proper obstacle mud race before and honestly I was fairly nervous. I had signed up to run the Chepstow Stampede 10k with my friends, Kate and Jamie, a while ago and now it was suddenly here.

I drove to Bristol to stay with them on Friday night. Because I’m such an intelligent savvy pro at life (*cough*) I winged it with their address in my sat nav with what I thought it was and then found out later I was actually going to the wrong place. In all fairness I was very close with the address; it was in Bristol at least. I haven’t driven to their house in the dark before is my excuse… It just set me back 15 minutes, whoops. Lesson learnt once again never to trust my own (questionable) intelligence in anything.

We had a delicious chicken salad for dinner. Who even are these friends anymore?? They would laugh at me for eating salad in America and now they’re completely converted! They’re like new people. And then we had an early night ready to get up the next morning to drive to Chepstow. We also picked up Kate’s friend, Katherine, en route who I’d met when we’d all done parkrun together a few times a few months ago.

chepstow-stampedeRandom guy in the right photo at the bib pick-up tent…

It was really fun going to the race and picking up our bibs because the three of them had never done a race before. What was a fairly normal and mundane process for me was new and exciting to Kate, Jamie and Katherine. They’d never had a bib number before, had the usual struggles and gripes about where to pin it and getting it straight… it was just really refreshing to go through the process with them (without sounding ridiculously patronising – we were all new to this once after all!).img_6040That said, I was actually really nervous about this race as it was something I’ve never really done before. I’ve done obstacle courses before but never an actual race. I was really glad it wasn’t raining, though it was very chilly. We’d agreed to run it as a team and help each other where needed. Right, let’s do this.img_6041The race started off on road at the Chepstow Racecourse and on a sharp downhill. The running for me was generally fairly easy as I’m a bit faster normally to the others but it was nice to run with them. We didn’t know what to expect in terms of obstacles but we did know at some point we’d be getting wet, so that weighed heavily on all our minds as the temperature was far from ideal.

The first obstacle was climbing over a wooden wall thing. It had very narrow ‘steps’ to use but it was really slippy. I ambitious threw myself at it and slipped almost immediately. More time and care required! It was quite high up but I just didn’t look down and got over it, literally. Kate was very cautious and nervous because she hates heights but she bossed it like a pro!

The first mile flew by. It was crazy how quickly it was going, despite having to wait a good few times for obstacles as there gets to be a bit of a build up while you wait for people. I don’t have a huge amount of obstacle racing experience but I think if you’re expecting to get really good times it will be hard because, from speaking to other people who’ve done similar races, you usually do have to wait a bit. But you can use that time to see (and judge!) other people’s strategies for getting over…and what not to do!

There were lots of obstacles in each mile, things like hay bales to climb over, tunnels to wriggle through, more walls to get over and tires to climb through – things like that basically. Nothing too difficult but also not easy per se, especially after you’ve been running. One of my favourites was climbing up a steep muddy wall using a rope. That was good fun. For each obstacle you didn’t have to do it and normally there was an easier option to choose from as well.

On the last mile there was the dreaded full body submerging into cold muddy water. There were a load of logs held above a stretch of water and you had to crawl under them, your head just above the water, to get through. It was FREEZING. But you just got in there and got it done. The more you think about it the worse it’ll be.

I got out the other side in shock of just how cold it was. It was that weird feeling that I knew I was cold but I hadn’t registered it yet as my body numb. It was only after we continued to run and the wind whipped at us that we really felt it. But we survived! We had to run up that bastard hill that we ran down at the start and crossed the finish line holding hands feeling like warriors.10k-stampedeWe did it in 1:44:33. We were aiming for sub 2 hours so that was perfect. Actually we think it would have been closer to 1.5 hours had we not had to wait so much (1.5 hours was our A Goal ;-)). It was such a fun race. It didn’t feel like any race I’ve done before. I certainly wouldn’t do it on my own – I think the appeal of these races are that you do them with friends and help each other, rather than try and get a speedy time. I didn’t care that I was running (and walking at times) a lot slower than I normally would. It was just such a fun experience.img_6045You weren’t just getting through the miles: you never knew what was coming round the corner, what massive hill would turn up next or crazy obstacle you’d have to get past. The race flew by! I fully recommend it – and for someone who hates being cold and wet, that is good praise indeed! I’m grateful it wasn’t raining though as the course had the potential to get very muddy so we weren’t quite as dirty as we could have been!img_6051

Just a few tips that I thought I’d share for an obstacle/mud run:

  • Don’t go with a time ambition.
  • Wear trail shoes that you don’t really care about.
  • Wear running clothes you’re not bothered about ruining but equally if you’re doing the race in colder temperatures, wear long sleeves and leggings but nothing that if it gets wet will really weigh you down.
  • Possibly wear gloves with grips – I found my hands got very cold and torn around a bit on the obstacles.
  • Bring a towel and a spare set of clothes.


  • Bring bin bags to either sit on in the car or put your clothes into afterwards.
  • Help anyone and everyone; there’s such a camaraderie feeling between everyone, whether you know them or not.

img_6054After we’d all had lovely hot showers we headed out for the real prize: FOOD. We went to Spitfire in Bristol which I’ve been to before. Katherine ordered a steak but the rest of us ordered the St. Louis ribs. When I ordered the waiter said, “This is usually shared between two people – it’s quite a lot of food” and Kate was like, “you don’t know Jamie and Anna”. We ordered some chicken wings to share as well. I won’t lie, our stomachs were doing the talking.img_6056We were all in heaven. The ribs were delicious. Up there with the best. The chicken wings were good too.img_6063Jamie and me had no issues polishing off our ribs, though we were defeated by the wings.

Despite being very full we decided to head to a gelato cafe for some pudding. Ooof. I decided to not go quite as decadent as I could have been and had three scoops: Mint Aero, Toffee Crisp and Malteaser. Delicious!img_6065

Then I needed a nap…but I had to drive home. It was a fantastic weekend of the best kind: running and food 😉

What’s your favourite ice cream flavours?

What would be your worst obstacle?

Have you ever done a mud race before?

Riverside parkrun Review

I have another parkrun review for you today. It’s not one I’ve been to and, if I’m honest, I didn’t really know where it was! Being the Southerner I am I guess this isn’t too surprising as it’s all the way up North near Sunderland in County Durham. The review is brought to you by my lovely Twitter and running friend, Anji, AKA @EngimaGirl81.

[Psst! If you’d like to write me a review of your local parkrun or one you’ve been too, please email me at annatheapple@gmail.com – I’d love to hear from you!]

Over to Anji…

Stats: average finishers 161, 14:43/16:43 M/F, average time 26:48, number of runs 220

OK so I am biased. I met my fiance at Riverside parkrun so for me it will always be very special, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a whole bunch of other reasons to LOVE Riverside.Riverside-parkrunLocation: The North East is blessed with a number of parkruns in a very small area, Riverside often known as one of the fastest and flattest courses around. Riverside parkrun takes place in the beautiful Riverside park Chester Le Street, County Durham, just a stone’s throw from the famous Riverside Cricket ground home of Durham CCC.

Parking: Parking at the event is paid but a small fee which doesn’t kick in until 9am means you won’t have to break the bank. Make sure you arrive early and it really is hassle free.

Amenities: There are free toilets on site too situated right next to the start line. The cafe in the park is only just starting to open in time for parkrun day and despite the changing weather several parkrunners and beginning to take advantage. Before this and traditionally, runners often made the short drive up to Olivers Garden centre for a post run cuppa, bacon sandwich and a catch-up. They usually even put the log burners on for us meaning it’s super-cosy!

Course: Riverside parkrun can be affected by the levels of the river meaning there are a few variations of the course (I think I have done three!) but all of them can allow a fast time on a lap course. The current and most popular course begins in the centre of the park, runs one small lap to the river and back then two large laps taking in the whole of the park across a short grass section.riverside-parkrun-course


Riverside is always brilliantly marshalled and well-marked out meaning even at the front of the field you won’t go wrong. Part of the riverside section can get a little crowded on your final lap but runners are always reminded to keep right to allow the faster runners through. The courses are all pretty at all times of the year, and the swans often come up to the paths to say hello making your parkrun photos quite striking! The finish is maybe the best part, the open flat stretch giving a great setting to a sprint finish.

Riverside has a real “family” feel to it with many of the marshal spots taken up by familiar faces. The run is well-managed by a great team of directors and as a volunteer you find yourself wanting to come back again and again.riverside-parkrun-teamOne of the marshal points on all three laps of the course “Bills bend” is so named as the same volunteer (Bill, obviously!) mans this station every week.

There’s also a pacing event once a month usually.

I have recently made the ultimate parkrun commitment by changing my Home Run to Riverside from Newcastle. I always feel like Riverside is like being with family, and I know it will be one of my favourite places for a very long time.

Thank you, Anji 🙂 You can follow Riverside parkrun on Twitter or Facebook for more information and updates.

What Northern parkruns have you done?

Do you have a regular set of marshals at your parkrun or is it always changing?

If you go to a cafe afterwards, what do you normally get?

Good things making me happy

Apart from the dark mornings and evenings, the cold and rain, things are quite happy in my neck of the woods! It’s always nice to take stock of a few things that are making me a happy Anna.

The ‘C’ word: What is this madness? Christmas stuff already out in supermarkets. This photo was actually take two or three weeks ago as well.img_4888Christmas cakes, mince pies, stollen… yep. It’s October. That said, I love all things Christmas, especially food-related items) so I’m happy with this state of affairs. More mince pies in my life can only be a good thing.

Tesco encouraging kids to eat more fruit: They’re offering a free piece of fruit to children coming into the supermarket. img_3917So they can chomp on something healthy as they walk round with their parents. What a great idea! Nice one, Tesco. We’ll let you off for your Christmas products 😉

New shoes: I bought some new shoes. They were really cheap as they’re of an older seasons but I really needed a pair of simple comfy shoes I could easily slip into and wear for quick errands or walking Alfie. img_5954I tend to have a lot of trainers, pumps, boots and then my gym shoes (Vans & Converses – ideal because they have flat soles for squatting and deadlifting which help me be more “in tune” with the ground and lifting) but nothing that I’d be happy to get a bit mucky. I had a previous pair of Skechers and I wore them to the ground. These were only £25 which I thought was a steal.

Unusual gel flavours: A lovely friend of mine (a triathlon legend it must be said – his training cycles make mine look very amateur indeed) sent me some gels as a good luck present for my marathon (though with strict instruction NOT to use them during the marathon if I hadn’t tried them first).img_5972Maple Bacon flavoured gels!! I know some (many?) of you will be thinking “that’s so gross” but I’m genuinely looking forward to trying them out. I quite like the GU gels (I still remember that salted caramel one I had once…so good. And the lemon flavoured one that tasted like a zesty pudding) so I expect good things 😉

Protein Porridge: I got a packet of this Mornflake Go! High Portein Porridge in my goodie bag from the Chester Marathon. Normally I will never use porridge packets because they always contain some form of sugar or flavouring and I can’t stand sweet porridge. For me the only sweetness I like is from the milk, so it’s very subtle.fullsizerenderBut this was different. It’s a pack of oats containing soya protein isolate and (other than a stabiliser) that’s it. No sugar, no fruit, no seeds…just oats and protein. One packet though wouldn’t be enough for me for breakfast as it was around 130 calories. So I used two with almond milk and it tasted almost identical to my normal porridge.img_5953Basically the same texture and it was really filling. I’m still regularly having scrambled eggs (with cheese, kale and olives – love it) for breakfast but I miss my porridge. The reason I swapped was because the porridge was quite low in protein but this is a great compromise. Though it is more expensive, so I’m looking into getting some unflavoured protein powder and playing around with that.

Woofins: These are adorable…even if I was disappointed when I first saw them as I thought “oooh cake” and then realised they’re actually for dogs.img_5987

Alfie isn’t a huge treat lover or chewer. For example, if I give him a dentist stick to chew on he puts it in his mouth then wanders around whimpering until I take it off him and cut it into four pieces for him (what a princess…). Although he will easily eat them normally when he’s around my parent’s dogs – but I think this is due to the fear that if he doesn’t they’ll eat it for him. Anyway, I digress, he wolfed down this mini cake – he loved it!

New car: OK it’s pretty much identical to my old car, just new.img_5968I love the Fiat 500 and wanted to stay with them. Unfortunately I did want a different colour (I quite like the mint) but they didn’t have it in stock for when I wanted it so I had red again. As someone who is rubbish with adulting, having a brand new car with no MOT or service to worry about for a while is a huge weight off my mind (especially as I was late with my last service by about 10,000 miles as I got confused <– story of my life).

But things making me nervous: A 10k obstacle course race (Chepstow Stampede) with my friends, Kate and Jamie, that’s happening Saturday. I did that obstacle course in Spain but I don’t think it can quite compare to a muddy obstacle course race in Britain during a rather wet autumn. I’m stressing a bit with what to wear as I don’t really have anything I’d happy to never see again if it got ruined… and I’m scared about being really cold and wet. But other than that, it should be a laugh. We’ll see…

Have you ever done an obstacle course race?

What kind of car do you have?

What non-workout shoes do you normally wear?

parkrun, a date and THOSE pancakes

Why is it weekends fly by so quickly? I was quite busy so this is probably why I guess!

Saturday morning saw me back at parkrun at Netley Abbey after a couple of weeks off of running. I hadn’t seen Mike, or any of the Netley parkrun crew, in ages so it was nice to catch up with everyone. I basically chatted the entire way round parkrun! I wasn’t interested in a fast time and just wanted to have a nice enjoyable run. I also got to showcase my Chester Marathon long-sleeved technical tee and my parkrun cow cowl.img_5974This photo made me laugh so much as I literally had no idea that Jim, the photo bomber, was behind me doing that. It was only when I looked at the photo I saw. Hehe.

I bought my cow cowl after I had successful done 20 different parkrun courses and am now on the Most Events table. It’s not a freebie thing like the milestone t-shirts or directly associated with parkrun, you do have to buy it yourself (but it’s like £7 so very cheap), but it’s a great way of identifying with other Most Event parkrunners.cow-cowlThe cowl (or buff) was actually really nice to wear as it was quite nippy at parkrun. Winter is definitely on it’s way 🙁 I’m really not looking forward to the cold morning’s of parkrun set-up and then running in the nasty weather. Hey ho.

My pacing at parkrun was all over the place as I was too busy chatting… parkrun-paceNot particularly consistent really and fairly slow in comparison to previous runs (25:39). But my legs felt alright post marathon (well, they would do I guess after almost two weeks off!) andI’m still trying to take things nice and slow. I want to be really motivated when I get back into proper training so I don’t want to ramp things up too quickly now. I probably won’t run a huge amount in the next few weeks if I’m honest as I also have my eye laser surgery coming up this month. (I will blog about that experience.)

Later on I had a date… we’d “met” through internet dating (Plenty of Fish – just that one tiny step above Tinder I think as I’m not ready to pay actual money yet) and after he cancelled on me the other week we finally rearranged another date. He lives 45 minutes away which, if I’m honest, annoyed me more than it should. After lots of nice reassurance from the Twittersphere that that wasn’t that bad I decided to go more positive than I was initially.

img_5975From my Instagram Story

We met at a pub for lunch. It went OK, he seemed nice and we chatted a lot but then it all fell apart when he said he was too full for pudding. Game over.

No, I’m joking (well, there was no pudding which was somewhat devastating after seeing the table next to me get chocolate fudge cake and millionaire shortbread cheesecake). In truth, as nice as he was I didn’t feel a huge connection and there were things that were fundamental no-no’s (who doesn’t like Harry Potter?? <– OK that is sort of a joke but it was one of a few things I found that didn’t work for me).

*Sighs* so much effort wasted. I don’t think I’m going to continue with the Internet dating at the moment as, in my opinion, the effort involved finding, messaging, working out if they’re not a psycho, meeting up, etc. is just not worth it. I’d rather pootle along as I am right now.

That evening I met up with friends for a house warming party and we had a lovely chilled evening of chilling and chatting. The host provided an amazing spread of Slimming World approved snacks (as she’s trying to lose a bit of weight). There were sweet chilli chicken bites, bacon wrapped asparagus, fruit, crudites and dips. It was fantastic!

I’m definitely starting to warm more to Slimming World – not that I’m going to start obviously but what I mean is that it’s not quite the product-pushing fad diet system I thought it was. It’s working so well for my parents (they’ve both lost over a stone each!!) and it seems to have some sound and sensible guidelines and support system.

Then the next day I headed to London to meet with my uni friends for lunch and catch-up. (Side note: I watched Money Monster on the train and it was really good – very tense. I thoroughly enjoyed it! The train journey flew by).

My friend, Charlotte, took us to an AMAZING spot for lunch called My Old Dutch and WOW. Basically the menu was just pancakes – both sweet and savoury. As I had to catch the train fairly early that morning (damn Sunday trains) I’d forgone a proper breakfast as I wanted a bit longer to sleep in the morning and I knew we were going to this pancake place so wanted to be adequately hungry. I had a banana and a couple of apples but by the time we got there I was starving.

Originally I thought I was going to go for sweet pancakes as I’d already checked them out on Instagram and the pancakes looked i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. But because I was just so hungry I thought it would make me feel a bit ill. Bit of a mistake I think but I REALLY enjoyed the savoury pancake I had.img_5983It was full of halloumi, feta, olives and aubergine.img_5978Perfection. I did get enormous food envy though as one of my friends ordered the Willy Wonka Kinda special.img_5982I mean WOW. It looked amazing. She found it got very sickly (as you can imagine) so I was able to help her out at the end 😉 But yes, it was ridiculously sweet. She was in a sugar coma afterwards which was quite amusing (seen as how it’s usually me who ends up that way!).

Apart from a downpour we got caught in, the meet-up was lovely. Though it sucked it was a Sunday and not a Saturday like we normally do as it meant getting home at 6pm and still having chores and food prep to do… worth it though!

What would you choose: savoury pancakes or sweet?

What would be deal-breakers for you for relationships?

Do you judge people on what they order at restaurants? 😉