clean 9, dance, depression, diet, excercise, forever living, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

Clean 9 – 8 weeks on

BY LOUISE SHARP | August 17, 2015

On June 22, I started something which I didn’t really realise would have such an impact on my life. After years of failed and half-hearted attempts of dieting, I began a 9 day detox. I documented each day on my blog, sharing what I’d ate, and how I felt at the end of every day.

It’s now almost 8 weeks since I completed the cleanse, and I thought that I’d provide readers with an update.

Like whilst doing Clean 9, my meals are still all fresh and cooked from scratch. I have fish at least once per week and chicken around three times. I no longer eat sandwiches for lunch but wholewheat pasta or soup. I’m also wary of how much water I’m drinking, and fill a water bottle up several times a day, so I know I’m not dehydrated like I was before. I’m finding that I don’t really do any snacking now, but I always have fruit in the house just in case I do feel a little hungry between meals.

I have gone from being an absolute chocoholic, who could eat a big bar of Dairy Milk each night, to eating no chocolate at all. In 8 weeks I’ve had two small packets of Maltesers and a melted Bournville on a pancake. Chocolate, crisps, fizzy drinks, biscuits just aren’t part of my diet now. I don’t want them and I don’t crave them. I did however, celebrate my son’s 16th birthday just two days ago and I had a small slice of cake. I also took my two daughters to a newly-opened ice cream parlour last weekend and I enjoyed the most amazing waffle, but these were special occasions and I’ve been extra active this week in order to work off the extra calories.

Just before I did the detox I had stated going to a Clubbercise class every Friday night, which I still go to, but I decided that one night per week just wasn’t enough, and I now go on Sunday mornings too. So no more sitting around the house in my pyjamas trying to find the energy to get dressed. I wake up, put on my leggings, neon top and trainers, grab my glow sticks and water and I’m dancing to club hits by 9.30am. I thought it was a great way to start the weekend on a Friday night, but it’s an even better way to start a Sunday morning.

In addition to this, a friend told me that her and three other girls do a session with a personal trainer once per week and asked if I wanted to go along and see what it’s like and possibly join their group. I went to meet the trainer and spent 20 minutes in the gym just to get an idea of where my fitness levels are currently at. As the other girls have been going for some months now, it was advised I do some catchup sessions first. I have my first session next week, which I’m both excited and nervous about. I guess it’s perfectly natural to be nervous about starting something new, but I can’t wait to see and feel the results.

I even really pushed my boundaries a few weeks ago by getting involved with a charity Clubbercise event. 75 of us eager neon-clad ravers filled a nightclub for an incredible hour and a half class… and we had fun, so much fun whilst raising money for a charity close to the hearts of the instructors. I’m looking forward to doing another in October; especially since I hear it is a Halloween special.

But that’s still not enough exercise for me. I feel I have loads more energy now which I need to burn, so I’m hoping to join yet another dance class one night per week, which is starting up in September. So I’ve gone from doing no exercise at all to two – potentially three – classes per week and sessions with a personal trainer.

I suffer from depression and low moods, and feel that I always will because it is part of me, but now I’m in control and I haven’t felt as happy in years as I have over the last two months. I wake up bursting with energy. I keep myself busy during the day with my studying and writing, which I’m finding much easier as even my concentration seems to have improved. My husband has said he has seen such a change in me; not only in appearance as I continue to lose weight, but also in my mood. He said that I look happier and my outlook on life is so much more positive. I’m aware that this new positive energy will also be felt by my kids, which is great. They don’t need to see their mum feeling sad any more or hear me say negative words about myself. They need a happy mum, with confidence, passion and full of energy, and they’ve got that at last.

I haven’t continued with any Forever Living products unfortunately, mainly due to cost, but I do drink Aloe Vera Gel three times a day, which I buy from a health food shop as it is slightly cheaper. My energy levels are still through the roof, and I’m finding drinking more water curbs any hunger during the day. So for those reasons I feel I that don’t need any supplements. I will however, be doing Clean 9 again after Christmas, as I know that there will be a few indulgences over the festive period. It may be an expensive detox, but it is worth every penny if it changes your life the way it has mine.

I can categorically say that doing Clean 9 is one of the best things I have ever done. It has changed my life, without a doubt. Sticking to the plan gave me a taste of what healthy living can feel like. It showed me that I don’t need to overeat, or comfort eat. Comfort eating is what was contributing to my negative feelings about myself and low self-esteem. I dealt with negative emotions by eating high calorie sugary snacks, which tasted good at the time, but was doing so much damage to my body (and mind). It was exercise I needed. It’s exercise which makes you feel good and lifts your mood. Exercise and a healthy diet go hand in hand because what’s the point in exercising then undoing all of your hard work with fatty, stodgy foods.

I no longer look in the mirror and hate what I see, or even avoid mirrors altogether. I see a work in progress and a happy person for the first time in years

(Origionally published in Cultnoise Magazine – currently under reconstruction. https://www.facebook.com/cultnoise)

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depression, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

10 Sure Fire Steps to Body Confidence

BY LOUISE SHARP | July 10, 2015

Low body confidence is an issue which affects all of us from time to time, irrespective of age and gender. It is recognised as a significant social and public health problem in the UK and throughout much of the rest of the world. Statistics show that 60% of adults say that they feel ashamed of the way they look. This feeling of shame often leads to engaging in less social interaction, leading to isolation, and in turn poor mental health.

Worryingly, evidence gathered by the YMCA shows that low body confidence in young people can lead to unsafe sex, drug and alcohol abuse, and youth unemployment. In addition to this, a report commissioned by the Government Equalities Office found that low body confidence is undermining academic confidence and performance in adolescent girls, with some even missing school due to their body image concerns. Some women are going as far as simply not turning up to work or job interviews, showing that body image concerns are even preventing women from reaching their potential and contributing socially and economically to society.

But we live in a culture where a woman’s thinness and beauty are highly valued, and where wealth and success are often considered to go hand in hand with this image of perfection. We’re fed images via the media of ridiculously thin but extremely glamorous women, and these images are seen by teenagers in a time when they are particularly susceptible to peer pressure.

Low body confidence is not exclusive to women and girls; men and boys suffer negative body image too, but are less likely to admit to being affected, as it is seen as less socially acceptable for men to admit to caring about what they look like enough to experience any hang-ups.

It is the aim of many advocacy groups to change the way the media portrays women, with national and international efforts being made to make marketers take responsibility for displaying unrealistic and unachievable images of both men and women. But we cannot simply reply upon a change in the media to change the way we feel about ourselves, as body confidence is not solely down to what we see. There are a range of social, cultural, psychological and biological factors that influence body image.

We need to act as individuals and change the way we perceive and feel about ourselves. So, what follows is ten tips for achieving body confidence: a mental detox to have you feeling better about yourself in no time.

1)  Surround Yourself With Positive People

Every day we are surrounded by and spend time with a variety of people, but negative people can affect your own outlook, particularly of your body image. Choose to be around people who will make you thrive, even if this does mean some drastic changes to your social life. The transformation should empower you, lift your mood, self-esteem and body confidence.

2) Recognise the Use of Image Manipulation, and That Altered Images Are Altering Our Minds

These ‘perfect’ images we see in media aren’t all they seem. Celebrities have spent hours in make up, photographed under strategically placed lighting and air-brushed to perfection. Blemishes are removed, limbs are lengthened and stomachs are flattened, as demonstrated in the below clip. Learn to recognise that these alterations are unrealistic and recognise the harm that they are doing to your own self-image.

3) Celebrate Your Body and All the Amazing Things It Can Do

Shift your focus away from what you body looks like to what it can do. Our bodies are our means of getting about, seeing, feeling, smelling. It is the means in which we come in contact and get to know the world. We should appreciate and respect it for that.

4) Make a List of Things You Like About Yourself, Read and Add to It Often

These things don’t have to be physical attributes. What you look like is only part of who you are. Think of all the things you do and do well, such as your ability to make others laugh when they most need it, your quirks, or your ability to smile even when things get hard. These are all qualities that need to be celebrated. And when the critical voices start making themselves known, there’s some evidence to the contrary.

5) Overpower Negative Thoughts With Positive Ones

We affirm statements about ourselves and the condition of our life with every thought and word we speak, and we practice this habit subconsciously. As we ponder over specific thoughts again and again, those thoughts become beliefs. Pretty soon these beliefs become our reality, and the condition of our wealth, health and relationships depends upon our habit of perception. Practicing positive affirmations is life changing. Use more positive self-talk. When you find yourself in the midst of a negative thought pattern, stop and replace it with an opposite statement. So stop hating yourself because you ‘look horrible’ and learn tell yourself that you love yourself unconditionally.

6) Exercise

Research indicates that exercise can help to improve body image. People who exercise and workout regularly are more likely to feel self-confident than those who are largely inactive. Body image is a strong component of self-esteem – and taking part in an activity that you enjoy, and that you gain a sense of accomplishment from, will help to build your self-esteem. Other benefits gained from exercise include overall better mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress and depression. Exercise also releases endorphins which create feelings of happiness through euphoria.

7) Practice Self Acceptance

Self-acceptance is embracing yourself as you are right now.

“You really have to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength, and say, ‘I’m proud of what I am and who I am, and I’m just going to be myself.”

– Mariah Carey

To get to a place of self-acceptance you have to be able to know and understand who you are, which is likely to mean making some changes. You may have to face some fears and step outside of your comfort zone. It’s about separating who you are from what you’ve done, and understanding that everyone makes mistakes, and that’s how we learn and grow.

8) Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Everyone has something they wish they could change about their body. Wishing you had someone else’s hair, smile, or teeth takes away from what uniquely is you. Learn to accentuate the qualities you like and minimize the things you don’t. Start to look for beauty everywhere, particularly in places you wouldn’t ordinarily expect to find it, then you will learn to find it in yourself. You might not be able to squeeze into those size 8 jeans, but you still have that killer hair.

9) Focus on What You Have the Power to Change

If you want to change something about yourself, do it. If it’s your hair you don’t like, try a new haircut. If you’re unhappy about your weight, look into changing your diet or maybe joining an exercise class. The sooner you start making the changes, the sooner you will start to feel better about yourself.

10) Invest Your Time and Energy More Wisely

Rather than worrying about food, calories and your weight, use that time and energy to do something to help others, whether it’s an individual, or even getting involved in charity work. Sometimes reaching out to other people can help us feel better about ourselves and make a positive change to our world.

And that’s it! Do you have any tips we haven’t covered here? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

dating, general, humour, lifestyle

Dating Disasters

BY LOUISE SHARP | November 16, 2015

A first date is a nerve-wracking experience for anyone. Some easily lead onto a second, third, forth date, and sometimes even true love. But, unfortunately, some leave nothing but a sour taste in your mouth, and make for a hilarious, albeit cringeworthy, story.

To find out more about the wonderfully weird world of dating, CultNoise spoke exclusively to real people willing to share their own ‘dating disasters’:


The One with the Secret Fiance

I’d been dating a guy and then one night I was out and bumped into him with his mates visiting from home. He was really off with me and I couldn’t work out why. Later on, one of his mates came up to me and I said I had no chance, as he has a girlfriend. I said: ‘I know, but we’ve not made it official yet.’ He looked gobsmacked and said: ‘No, he has a fiance back home.

Two weeks later I came home to my flat and my flatmate was doing a study session with mates off her course. Who should be there, but him. He left very swiftly.

– Anonymous


The One with the Awkward Dinner

I went on a date with a guy to a restaurant. All was going well but it felt like someone was staring at me. When I looked up, a woman and an older couple were glaring at me. I pointed this out to him discreetly as we were eating our starters, and when he looked, he swore. I asked him what was up and he said: ‘It’s my ex-wife and her parents.’

– Anonymous


The One with the Sister

I met a guy back home who was lovely, but six years older. We went out on a few dates and then we both went back to university. Over the course of a year, we would meet up, but as we both knew it wasn’t a serious relationship, we never introduced each other to our families. One night back home, we were out together where we bumped into my sister. She instantly looked furious and he looked very sheepish. Turns out they had dated a few years previously. I haven’t seen him since.

– Anonymous


The One with the Impromptu Alcoholism

I got set up on a blind date with a friend of a friend. He really wasn’t my type and he looked like Kyle from Road Trip, but I couldn’t ditch him instantly. I went to the toilet to call a mate to get her to ring me to get me out of it, but we were in the black hole of phone signal with nothing in the whole building. I then had to sit through a meal with him. He gave me the excuse to walk out though. Feeling so bored I ordered some shots, to which he branded me an alcoholic for drinking hard spirits at 3 in the afternoon. After I necked them, I walked out.

– Anonymous


The One with the Ditchers

Me and my mate got stood up for a double date once. So, we stayed out having a few drinks. We weren’t actually bothered until we went to student night at the local nightclub, where they were there with two other girls. They tried saying that they looked everywhere, but couldn’t find us in the bar. The other girls they were with overheard this and ditched them. They then tried crawling back to us.

– Anonymous


The One with the Drool

I got taken on a date to see the first Lord of the Rings movie. I hate films like that. But he was fit so I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. I fell asleep on his shoulder, and drooled on him. Apparently I snored, too. I never heard from him again.

– Anonymous


The One with the PVC Skirt

I met a guy online, a PE teacher. He seemed nice, so we agreed to a date. As he was a teacher, which I had checked out, I thought it would be okay to let him pick me up. He arrived at my house with a ‘gift’. Upon opening the box, I saw a God awful maroon PVC skirt, which he then asked me to wear for the date. Of course, I refused to wear it, and he was not happy, but we went out anyway. I got a bit tipsy so agreed to a second date afterwards. He arrives again a few days later, but was in a bit of a strop about the fact that I still wouldn’t wear the skirt. We went for an Italian meal, and he barely said a word to me. The date was painful, and I was glad when it was over.

When we left and got to the car, he was so moody and distracted that he reversed into a tree in the car park. I was trying not to laugh by this stage. When I got home, I sent him a message and told him it wasn’t going to work out, and wished him well. A few days passed and he got back in touch. I told him again I wasn’t interested, but he messaged me persistently saying he wanted to meet. I flat-out said no and asked him to leave me alone. Then the truth came out. He wanted the skirt back, which I’d forgot I even had. On questioning why it was so important, he admitted he used it to ‘get off’. Incidentally, I did give it back, but put it behind the bin and told him to collect it and not to knock on my door. He knocked anyway so I dived behind the sofa and my friend answered. The look on his face was a picture as she started laughing at him, holding the bag containing the skirt. He looked a right plonker.

– Anonymous


The One with the Future Mrs Anderson

I was once on a second date with a girl when we decided to have a seat by the sea and started to chat. Because we had met online and only had one date, I didn’t know her last name. So, she told me her name, which is important to add, is not the same as mine (Anderson), and then I asked her if she knew mine. She said she did. Then we went quiet for a minute until she said out loud and in a ponderous tone: ‘Sarah Anderson… Hmmm.’

– Anonymous


The One with the Guy Under the Influence of…Something

I was 19 years old, and not long out of a two-year relationship. So, the concept of dating was completely new to me. I met someone whilst out with friends one night. I gave him my number, he rang the next day and we arranged to meet up that evening. I turned up at the agreed time, and waited outside the cinema. After waiting an hour, I concluded that I’d been stood up. As I was about to leave, a car pulled up and someone stumbled out of the passenger side.  It was my date. We’d missed the film, so the best suggestion he could come up with was to sit in the local school field with a few bottles of  beer, which he then selected in the shop, fished around in his pocket, produced £2 leaving me to jump in and pay the rest. Now, I wasn’t exactly enthralled with the whole sitting in a field idea, but went along with it anyway. He was acting pretty weird. He kept shrieking with excitement that he loved blondes and couldn’t believe he was on a date with one. He also whistle and shouted: ‘Sexaaaaay’ at two passing women. I kind of figured out that he had either been dabbling with illegal substances, or was drunk.

We sat down, in the middle of the field, on a main road surrounded with houses. Not particularly remote thankfully, and home was a 10 minute walk away. The conversation was gibberish, and I wanted desperately to leave. After about 15 minutes of listening to his one-sided conversation, he put his head on my lap, and fell asleep. I waited a few minutes, and as he started to snore, I moved him. Thinking back, I should maybe have put him in the recovery position, but I just kind of pushed his head from my lap and ran. I ran to the nearest phone box, rang my dad and asked him to quickly come pick me up – this was before mobiles became the norm. I saw my date stand up, look around, then stagger towards where I was hiding. Just as he was getting closer to the phone box, my dad pulled up in the car. I flung the door open, heard him shouting random insults, jumped in the car and we drove away me flicking him the Vs. The phone rang the next morning and I heard my mum tell the person on the other end of the phone to never ring again, so I assume it was him.

– Anonymous


The One with the Cheapstake

I agreed to go on a date with someone I’d met on a night out. He picked me up and we went to Pizza Hut. He ordered a starter and main and I did the same. He then ordered desert and told me to pick one too, so I did. He also ordered several soft drinks for him, and alcoholic beverages for me. Sounds like I was out with a very generous date? Wrong. The very costly bill came and he said: ‘I’ll let you get this’.

– Anonymous


The One with the Fake Conversation

I went on a date to town one night with someone I’d been chatting to online. He didn’t look much like he described (this was before mobiles had cameras), but I’m not shallow and I liked what I knew of him. He seemed keen, very keen. It became evident he liked me more that I did him, but still being quite young and naive, I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. So, I decided to get drunk and just enjoy the night the best I could. We went to a nightclub and at this point, I was quite happily having a boogie on my own, and wanted rid of him. He kept grabbing my hands and flinging me around, clearly unaware that there was just no chemistry at all between us. So, out of sheer desperation, I noticed a group of male students, ran across to one of them, threw my arms around him excitedly, whispered: ‘Please just go along with this’. I exclaimed how I was so happy to see him as I hadn’t seen him in years and started up a completely fake ‘catch-up’ conversation. My date eventually got bored and left.

– Anonymous

(Originally written for Cultnoise Magazine – currently under reconstruction. https://facebook.com/cultnoise)

dance, depression, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

Fitness Review – Clubbercise

BY LOUISE SHARP | June 19, 2015

So after spending the last couple of months of 2013 and most of 2014 working on ‘the inside’ and after going though mentally challenging times, I decided that 2015 was going to be the year that I started to work on the outside. It’s now June and apart from dyeing my hair ‘Blackcurrant’ and updating my summer wardrobe, I haven’t done much to change. I want to be slim, toned and healthy. However there is one vital problem, like an awful lot of people, I hate gyms. I hate them with a passion.

After forking out around £300 to join the local ladies gym nearly six years ago, I reluctantly dragged myself there most nights for less than a month, making excuses to never again return. My nights were simply too busy, what with all the time spent watching tv and eating jaffa cakes. To be fair though I even gave the ridiculous (aptly named) ‘Insanity’ a half-hearted whirl a year ago, but found that I was literally gasping for breath after just 30 seconds of sprinting on the spot.

But then I heard about Clubbercise, a new rapidly growing fitness trend which seems to be taking the UK by storm, who claim to bring ‘a night out to your workout‘.  A keen clubber in my twenties, but now having other commitments and rarely having the time to go out, usually at home with my pajamas on by 10, I decided to give it a go. I tracked down the nearest class, and made the self promise to actually attend. night arrived, I threw on the black leggings and neon top, dug out the trainers and rocked up at the venue, a local scout hut. Being a Friday night made it the perfect start to my weekend.

As I walked in I was pleasantly surprised to see thirty to forty other neon clad females, aged from as young as fifteen to those who were probably in their forties. I paid for the class (a bargain £2, a half price offer), purchased my pink disposable glowsticks and before I knew it the room sank into darkness. Laser and disco lights filled the room, and I took my place (at the back of course).

This was actually the first session of a new class, so most of us were new to Clubbercise. After a brief introduction and being told to go at our own pace, the tunes began and within the next hour I had burned up to 600 calories dancing about to 90s classics such as the rave tune ‘Set you Free’ and to the recent beat of ‘Up Town Funk’. The hour passed in no time, and ended with us all winding down to stretch it out while also singing along to an upbeat version of ‘Man in the Mirror’. I felt great. Sweaty and hot, but fantastic. I left the venue feeling like I’d left a club, yet only sober.

The next morning I awoke only slightly feeling the burn. I surprisingly felt full of energy and on a bit of a natural high from the night before, only without the hangover. I eagerly went along to a different class the following Monday, but this one had been going a while and I was the newby amongst a group of regulars who already knew all the moves to Sigmas ‘Nobody to Love’. I didn’t and caused an injury. I’ve only made it back to one more class with having other things happening on a Friday night the past couple of weeks, but I will be there this week and I’m determined to make this a regular thing.

If you tend to feel intimidated by the usual aerobics, fitness classes and gyms like I do, and would rather  dance like nobody is watching, then Clubbercise can most definitely be your thing. And after watching the video above, who wouldn’t want to give it a go?

clean 9, depression, diet, excercise, forever living, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

Diet Review – Clean 9

BY LOUISE SHARP | July 14, 2015

We’re a nation obsessed with losing weight, but slimming is not an easy task for most. Last year it was all about juicing and the Paleo Diet, but figures released by Google at the end of 2014 show that the most searched diet of 2014 was Clean 9. Created by Forever Living, who amazingly enough don’t advertise their products but rather rely up word of mouth, this diet claims that you can loose up to 12lb in just 9 days.

Following a proven step-by-step plan called Forever Fit, which is an advanced nutritional, cleaning and weight management program, Clean 9 is designed to make you look and feel better. The Forever Fit plan starts with C9. The premise of Clean 9 is that it will help you begin to remove stored toxins from your body and feel lighter and more energised. Then it is followed by Fit 1 and Fit 2, which concentrates on sustaining weight loss and toning up.

Clean 9 involves taking a small variety of products supplied in the pack, along with an eating and exercise plan. It works with a combination of the effects of cleansing the body by drinking aloe vera gel, taking supplements like garcinia and forever therm which boosts the metabolism, and drinking a meal replacement shake.

The first two days will involve putting nothing into your body other than the products which are in the pack. However, there is a long list of GI free fruit and vegetables which can be eaten if necessary. Days 1 and 2 are aimed at resetting the body and mind and purging toxins. During days 3 to 9, one 600/800 calorie (women/men) meal a day is introduced for lunch or dinner, alongside the shakes and supplements.

So that’s what Clean 9 entails, and I decided to try it out for myself.

Most people weigh themselves before the detox, and take measurements.  However, I chose not to do this for a couple of reasons, which others may find strange and I appreciate that. Primarily, I wasn’t doing Clean 9 to lose weight; I was doing it to kick-start the healthy lifestyle I’ve wanted for so long, but always sabotaged within a couple of days with some kind of sugary snack. I wanted to have nothing but positives to report about the Cleanse. I was worried that if by day 9 I had only lost as little as 2lb, I would feel my efforts had been wasted and dwell on that rather than focus on the positive benefits of the cleanse.

The other reason is that I threw the bathroom scales out a few years ago after finding myself up in the night checking my weight, as well as several times during the day. I do want to lose weight. I want to finally say goodbye to the extra pounds I gained whilst pregnant with my youngest 4 years ago, and I’m hoping this will change my relationship with food and get me on the right path to feeling comfortable and happy with myself as I once did.

I planned exactly when to start the Cleanse. I wanted to do it during a time without any temptations. I had a weekend away planned, followed by family visiting. I knew there would be high calorie food and the odd glass of wine during those occasions that I wanted to partake in, so I chose the monday after as my starting point.

The sunday before the cleanse I made the most of eating whatever I liked, so I went out for a carvery, followed by a big slab of chocolate cake. I wanted that full feeling, the feeling when you’ve eaten more than you needed to and I wanted to remember it and how awful and unnecessary it can feel.

I really thought I would struggle on days 1 and 2. But I’m surprised to say that I didn’t actually feel hungry over the first two days at all. Breakfast was two capsules of Aloe Gel, which doesn’t taste pleasant. However, by day two I’d worked out a technique of doing the two shots of gel first, whilst holding my nose, followed by the two gel tablets and therm tablet. This way I could completely avoid the taste. But to be honest, by day 4 I wasn’t bothered by the gel at all. I was already feeling the benefits and they were worth the unpleasant taste.

On the first day I mixed the chocolate shake with water. I didn’t enjoy this at all, so switched to either rice or soy milk for the remainder of the cleanse, which gave it a much more enjoyable and palatable taste. I also gave it a good shake which made it quite frothy, and more like a McDonald’s milkshake and who doesn’t like a McDonald’s milkshake?

On day three I felt quite proud of myself for getting through the notoriously known hardest part of the diet, and really looked forward to my 600 calorie meal that night. I put a lot of thought into what to make, and went with chicken wholemeal wraps, with peppers, onions, lettuce, cucumber, a homemade salsa, and sour cream. On that same night, my daughter had two friends come for tea and I actually had no problem at all resisting the cake and crisps I had laid out for their tea party. I was also already starting to find that my clothes were starting to feel loose, and my skin looked much brighter and healthier than usual.

By day 5 I started to wish I had noted weight and measurements. My clothes were again feeling looser, and I was feeling more energetic by the day. I was also finding that at dinner time, I was feeling really full after my evening meal, even though my portions were much smaller than what I would have served before the cleanse.

On day 6 I tried on a maxi dress I didn’t anticipate wearing this summer and it fit. I also tried on a short, colourful cropped cardigan, which I had bought a few weeks earlier without trying on in the shop, got home and realised it was at least a size too small and surprisingly, that fit too. It was a Saturday and usually a takeaway night. I made a whole wheat noodles, chili and ginger salmon and prawns, steamed carrots, peppers and pak choi, which I enjoyed much more than the usual Singapore noodles, lemon chicken, fried rice, curry and chips.

Then day 7 arrived and I realised that shakes for breakfast were starting to feel routine now. I was actually really enjoying them, but not so much for lunch; I was longing for a healthy wrap of some sort. I also noticed the shakes were starting to taste slightly sweeter. With not eating chocolate for a whole week now, I was really starting to taste the natural sweetness in foods.

By this point, each morning I was filling my water bottle and putting an apple and banana in my bag to take out with me in the morning, without giving it any thought. With just two days to go, I felt like this was becoming a lifestyle which I was more than happy with to adopt.

On day 8 I’d expected to feel really excited about reaching the end of my cleanse, only I wasn’t. What was once the dreaded aloe gel in the morning had now become my routine and drinking it no longer phased me. Taking the daily supplements (8 tablets a day), were never a problem. Meal times were what they were before the detox, I never eat processed food or ready meals, but my downfall was often tucking into a couple of doughnuts whilst cooking a healthy meal.

When day 9 arrived I woke up feeling a massive sense of achievement. I had stuck to the cleanse and done everything by the book, even measuring quantities of rice to go with a delicious red Thai curry I’d made. I really enjoyed my first lunch in 9 days – two wholemeal pittas filled with prawns and salad that replaced the chocolate shake.

I felt the most energetic I had in a very long time. My mood felt uplifted throughout the whole 9 days, my skin was clearer than ever and my hair thick and bouncy. At no point did I ever experience hunger other than the normal hunger you might feel as lunch or dinner time approaches. I had no negative side effects what so ever.

I really wished I had taken note of my weight and measurements, as I would say in 9 days I felt like I must have lost near a stone. The differences were very noticeable. Some of my clothes were almost too big, and some fit much more comfortably and some I thought I wouldn’t be wearing this summer, now fit.

Today it’s a week since I completed the cleanse and I can proudly say I haven’t gone back to my old ways; I haven’t eaten any chocolate or biscuits, although I do admit I have had a handful of crisps and literally 5 Haribo hearts. But I’m not thinking about cakes, I have no interest in chocolate, and snacks are now fruit or a handful of nuts. My meals are still completely clean, and the portion sizes remain what they should ideally be.

I’m actually missing the aloe gel in the morning, so much that I may invest in some. I enjoyed the feeling of knowing I’m putting something good into my body each morning. My daily water intake has increased. I realise now how dehydrated I was before the cleanse and it showed in my skin. I exercise each day with a long walk in the morning and a Clubbercise class on a Friday night, I also plan to do another class during the week.

I will definitely be investing in another Clean 9, possibly in January next year as I do plan to have a small indulgence over Christmas. If anyone is thinking about doing the cleanse, stop thinking about it and just do it. It may be pricey at £116, but it is worth every penny.

It claims to be lifestyle changing, but if you’re like me and constantly battling with your weight and yo-yo dieting – which in turn affects your mood – it could be life changing.

(Origionally published on Cultnoise Magazine – currently under reconstruction)

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anxiety, depression, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

Stop Body Shaming

Canadian comedian Nicole Arbour sparked outrage September last year with her highly controversial ‘Fat ShamingYouTube video. The video, viewed by over 10 million people, contains a barrage of abusive slurs including ‘Obese people should be repeatedly embarrassed to encourage them to lose weight’ and ‘Fat shaming is not a thing. Fat people made that up’.

The 30-year-old comedian voices her belief that ‘People who are obese should be made to feel bad about themselves until they stop eating‘. As a result of her ‘fat shaming’ rant, Arbour was fired from an anti-bullying film she was due to work on, with claims that the director said he never wanted to see her again.

Despite the backlash and criticism, Arbour continues to remain unapologetic about her ‘Dear Fat People’ video, defending herself by calling it satirical and claiming that she was merely ‘having a bit of fun’.

Arbour does actually make a valid point in the 6 minute clip as she briefly addresses heart disease, diabetes and highlights ‘you only have one body’. Her approach, delivery and remaining content, however, are all completely and utterly the wrong way to ‘help’ anyone, and much like her UK counterpart Katie Hopkins, she’s clearly more about the followers, views and attention.

Contrary to Arbour’s belief that her outrageous opinions that her fat shaming may have a positive affect (motivating those who feel targeted to lose weight), research and studies in fact show the opposite and highlight the devastating effects and negative impact body shaming can have on an individual. Not only is it mentally harmful, it’s physically damaging too.

Expressing an opinion on someone’s physical appearance can have immediate effects, but alongside the emotional hurt and sense of being ostracised, this kind of discrimination may cause serious long-term damage. Body shaming has been found to have a more profound negative impact on both physical and psychological health than prejudices against more fixed characteristics such as gender or race.

A recent UK study of 5,000 adults indicated that discriminatory experiences contribute to poorer psychological wellbeing in individuals with obesity; furthermore such experiences cause a 70% increase in symptoms of depression.


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Results by a report also published this week show that making overweight or obese people feel bad about their bodies doesn’t do anything to motivate them to lose weight, but in fact does just the opposite.

Negative body image and weight-based discrimination has a negative impact on self-esteem, decreased life satisfaction, and problematic eating behaviours such as binge eating.

Celebrities have been hitting back at the recent rise in body shaming outbursts, with many believing that body shaming should be made illegal, including Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, who was recently a subject of concern over her thinner frame. Cheryl said ‘I can take whatever they (the press) throw at me after 13 years. What worries me is what it is doing to the younger generation. And some of the people writing this stuff are women. There is no sisterhood’.

In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 legally protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, disabilities, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy or gender reassignment; maybe it’s time body shaming should be included too, so we no longer have to watch, read or see vile outbursts like Arbour’s.

(Origionally Published on Cultnoise Magazine – currenly under reconstruction)

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