“Fat” Is Not A Feeling


From the billion pound diet industries, to racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia our world tells us not to love our bodies, even as far as to be ashamed of the skin we’re in.

Too often people refer to “feeling fat” as if “fat” is an adjective, the same as feeling ‘happy’, ’tired’, ‘restless’ or ‘joyful’.

Warped by the diet-ridden, fat phobic world we have become, this noun, “fat”, we have learnt to associated with feelings of self-dissatisfaction, shame, guilt, and discomfort.
A word used to reflect not feeling good enough.
Good enough to ourselves.
Good enough in the eyes of society.
Good enough in comparison to our friends, families or those we admire on social media.

A study investigating the content and frequency of fat shaming, body dissatisfaction and internalisation of the “thin ideal” amongst college students (predominately female) found that 90% engaged in conversational fat shaming of their own bodies, despite only 9% of them being clinically overweight and this was (unsurprisingly) associated with higher dissatisfaction and internalisation of the westernised “thin ideal”. 

This feeling now drives the chronic dieters, those who return to their “Monday morning diets” of restricted eating, eliminating food groups and over exercising, as this is now a socially justified form of self-care.

Not just only for women, but for many males I come across too.

So I want to remind you, in those moments when you sit there and think “I feel fat” remind yourself that “fatness” is not a feeling. But feeling fat means you’re feeling some other dissatisfaction, and that finding out what that is will be revolutionary to your overall well-being, and self-respect.

In those moments when we decide to sit and listen to our bodies sometimes we don’t always like what we feel back.
Pinnacle to recovery is learning to sit with, and work through, these uncomfortable feelings, without self-destructive thoughts and behaviours.

Remember, you have one body, and that body may be different in its abilities to others, treated differently in the past, have undergone illness or injury.  But what your body does and how it does it, demands your care, your respect and your constant unconditional love.
Feeding it.
Clothing it.
Moving it, and using it in the ways that build you up instead of breaking you down mentally as well as physically.

It’s a true act of self-care instead of a repetitive cycle of self-harm.

It by no means waking up every day and feeling amazing, but it’s accepting that it’s okay to feel shit about other stuff and not project this as a label onto yourself.

It’s a choice to respect your whole self, and in doing so respecting the diversity of bodies, minds and abilities that surround you.

Lastly, I want to encourage you to challenge the label of “feeling fat” because to those who are actually overweight, who may even face size discrimination, this terminology is damaging, adding to the daily fat-phobic stigmatisation that diet-culture fuels, reinforcing the warped thin idealisations that need to be challenged and changed

Its okay not to be okay
But it’s not okay to remain so.

Diet Culture Is Damaging Our Health: Problems and Solutions
Break Free from Comparative Behaviour and Negative Self-Talk [4 Challenges]
The Instagram Trap: #Fitspo or #GuiltTrip?


Ambition: Creating Goals and Building Realities

Ambition is Sexy
It’s Brave
It’s Risky
It’s Adventurous
It’s Empowering

It helped me overcome my eating disorder, and could help you overcome many personal set-backs, be it health, relational or work based

If you’re feeling a little stuck then this post may be just the read you need!

 “Without ambition we would have no progress, no inventions, no innovation and no change

Ambition is the focus of this post, because it sums up how I’ve got to where I am now; my degree, setting up this site, being published, running fundraising events, being involved in many local, and national campaigns.

Alarm bells go off whenever I meet someone who has no ambitions in life. You have this one amazing world to explore, this life that you can build and do so much with, and yet they have no dream, no challenge, no passion they want to chase. 

Maybe you don’t know what it is you want to do yet, and you’re stuck with this conflict of knowing you’re not happy where you are now but you can’t pin point where you want to be? 
The thing is, without ambition we have no growth.
No change.

We remain stuck believing we can amount to no more, maybe that we don’t deserve 
better, or held back by fear and apprehension that we will fail.

So we just don’t try at all. 

Whatever your situation; if you’ve hit a plateau in your life, be it health, work or relationship related, this post aims to outline some key points to help you make changes and reflect on where it is you actually want to be when you look forward to your future.

What is Ambition?

“Ambition; the desire and determination to achieve a goal”

Ambition is the fuel we need for action.
It’s that’s craving you get to achieve something that feels a bit bigger, a bit riskier. 

The yearning for more.
The desire to achieve a bit more, to try something new, and something unknown.
Without ambition we lack direction.

Our ambitions change as we grow.
They contain smaller stepping stones along the way to building the bigger picture.
Therefore we can look at ambition as being this disjointed journey, a chain reaction of events, that aid you moving forward. 

Personal Reflection: In 2012 I self-discharged from an adult inpatient ward in London. I was scared and fearful of change. I didn’t know where I was headed, and having already dropped out of one university degree I was doubting my ability to bounce back and amount to anything.
I had all these dreams and goals (I even made a motivational scrap book of them, but that’s another post…).
I was stuck in a cycle of frustration, held back by fear, preventing me making any moves forward.
I have always wanted to achieve a lot. Live an extraordinary life. Meet people, travel places and build a bright future for myself.

Having a thirst for life and a vision in mind, was the ammunition that fuelled my recovery, because when all my anorexia wanted was for me to vanish, I was craving a wild existence.
This meant change needed to happen: facing my dreaded fear of changing and breaking the routine safe cycles I had found to cope.

Creating Your Goals

“Ambition is the desire to make the most of your potential, to achieve something special, which would make a profound difference to your life, and the life of others”

Whether your goal is to run a 10km for charity next year, write your first book, go for that job promotion, begin a new treatment programme, up-sticks and move to a new country, change is inevitable

Our dreams and visions, however big or small, often seem out of reach, and we can lack knowledge of what we want and need in order to get us there. 

Begin by looking at what you’ve got now. 
Make a list of what you’re happiest with; the people, places, routines, hobbies, are you a morning person? do you love reading? do you love learning? Things that sum up being you and give you that “buzz” of excitement; these are the things that will drive you forward.

Then make a list of what is unsettling you: Be specific with your lists so you pin-point the exact things that are causing you conflict, the barriers that are in your way, things that need to be changed in order for you to reach your goals.

What do you need? Do you need to do a course, or gain a qualification, maybe you just need to sit down with someone who has experience in that area. Resources may be external or internal, so don’t neglect your wider social and personal networks.

Who do you need? Are there people who will support you with your goal, who have ideas or expertise? 

Creating your goal: Bringing it all together
Building your ambition is a creative process, through which you’ll begin to realise your potential to manage and achieve more.
Once you’ve taken the time to look at the here and now and suss out the parts you want to build on, the things that really spark that buzz of passion into you, and those which don’t, begin to get creative with visualisation (write it down, mind-map, draw it out, scrap book it…whatever!). 

I have a massive white board I destroy with marker pens, just scribbling any old (odd?) idea and goal down, planning the ins-and-outs of it so that the board is filled and I feel slightly overwhelmed, but stupidly excited about the end result. 

Spend time visualising what you look like in a year or two’s time; where you want to be; what you want to be doing.
Be specific (or SMART) with it. 

  • Where are you living? 
  • What are you doing in your spare time?
  • What are your Hobbies/Interests?
  • Who’s included your friendship circles?
  • What work are you involved with? Voluntary/Personal/Paid/Self-employed?
  • Write out, or visualise, a day in the life of you then and compare it to now.

Your goals should make you feel slightly uncomfortable. 
But you will have smaller, easier stepping stones along the way to get to the end picture, but be risky, because it’s through pushing the boundaries that we begin to see our potential unfold.This builds our self-esteem, it ignites new passions and creativity and before you know it a chain reaction is set off.
Remember it is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Top 4 Tips To Sum Up

Once you embark on the mission, you realise that it’s not this steady journey, it becomes a 007 mission, filled with plot twists.
Remember, it will require hard work and perseverance in the face of set backs.

1. Be Focused.
Have a focused goal for what you want. Consider the steps you need to get to the end point. Know what you want it to look like – I used to use my big whiteboard and mind map loads of ideas and visions for projects, events, art projects, fundraising events etc…

2. Be ready to compromise.
Embrace change. If you’re working in a team you may have a focused idea but you need to accept that not everyone will have the same passion for the ideas and steps you see to get there. So be open minded. 

3. Make it achievable.
This may sound daft, and you’re probably thinking – Joss, this is common sense, why on earth would I have a goal I cannot achieve. Well…have you seen some of the XFactor auditions?!

Sometimes you need to find a compromise between fantasy and reality.
Make your goal realistically achievable by breaking it into smaller steps you need to take to make the goal a reality.
e.g Going on the X Factor auditions but in two years time after doing singing lessons and getting feedback from open-mic nights. 

An additional helping hand: 

  • Put a time scale on it. 
  • Pin-point the resources you need. 
  • Who are the people around you that will support you towards your goals? Make sure you surround yourself with positive energy, and that you’re not bogged down with negativity and doubts? ..you may need to let some people go…

4. Make your ambitions BIG and personal to you: 

When I say ‘life changing’ I bet you think I mean big, dramatic, heroic …well deciding to not to watch so much T.V but instead start writing that autobiographical book you’ve always wanted to do can be life changing – it involves a change to your lifestyle as it is now, and the personal aspect will give you that drive to continue with it as it grows.
…who knows, maybe one day my dream of doing a half triathlon will happen...

A personal reflection to offer some insight; I never thought I could do a Tough Mudder – I was ambitious and put myself out there for a new experience with one of my best mates by my side. The whole fundraising and training process changed me in ways I had never imagined.  I learnt more about how to properly fuel my body,  training became for strength and performance instead of compensating for calories. I was able to speak out about mental health for the charity I was fundraising for, and this sparked smaller goals along the way: larger fundraising targets, using the local press to raise awareness,  speaking at events, and start this site…a bunch of stuff I just would have never attempted before.  
A chain reaction of achievements that ignited self belief.


Remember: We all build up our own walls, making excuses for why we can’t do something or change situations.

Three years ago my goals were vague, small and simplistic; held back by a lack of self belief and self confidence. Today my goals are bigger and bolder because I have learnt that the value in taking risks and making changes that rebuild my identity and leave me fulfilled daily.

I hope this post has given you some useful tools to help you realise that no goal is impossible, ambition is crucial to growth, and how to now be curious as to what you are capable at achieving. 

“Sometimes the right path isn’t always the easiest one” – Pocahontas


Emotional Abuse…Through Her Eyes

A brave and honest account that challenges our perceptions of who is considered vulnerable. As well as exploring issues of trust and manipulation within relationships.

When first contacted by this remarkable young lady I had no idea what she had been through. What her bubbly smile, confident demeanour, and bright eyes masked. 

Whilst the title of this blog post sounds heavy, I ask you to read on.

If you’ve ever attended safeguarding training, be that for adults or children, you are taught about the signs and consequences of different types of abuse: Physical, Verbal, Sexual, Neglect, Discriminatory and Emotional (to name a few). 

You are given the policies and procedures to follow should a concern arise, as we all have a duty of care to look out for vulnerable individuals, namely children, the disabled and the elderly. 

Often in the midst of looking out for others we forget to look out for ourselves. Rarely considering that we may in fact actually be the vulnerable ones.

No matter your background abusers do not discriminate, they destroy.

This account challenges us to consider just who is vulnerable?

It explores how events may go unrecognised, and the difficulty confronting the reality of the situation when  emotionally attached, even in love with, the perpetrator.

She herself is the voice of strength, reminding us that no matter how hard it may seem, there is always an escape route waiting, and that these experiences can have detrimental consequences even after the storms have passed.

Whilst the speaker has chosen to remain anonymous,

This is Emotional Abuse…Through Her Eyes

“When someone is described as ‘vulnerable’, like ‘vulnerable young person’ or ‘vulnerable adult’, we make assumptions on who these people are. I would never have considered myself to be ‘vulnerable’ at the age of 18 because I didn’t fall into any of the stereotypical groups I associated with the word. I was still in education, I wasn’t on drugs, I was living at home and I was a pretty confident and capable person. I was surrounded by a network of friends and I had hobbies that saw me mixing with a wide range of people.

I was a reasonably mature 18 year old. The moment you discount yourself or someone else as not ‘vulnerable’, you remove a layer of protection and care, otherwise afforded to others. You make a judgement call that this person is less at risk of harm.

When I was 17, I met someone 16 years my senior. By 18 I had fallen in love with him and we had embarked on a relationship.

It was great.

He was funny, handsome, caring and charming.

He took me to nice places, he cooked for me, he encouraged and supported me with my studies and my hobbies. We went on some amazing holidays and despite me feeling guilty for not being able to contribute financially, he would always reassure me that it was fine, I was a student after all.

There were whispers and mutterings about the age difference but when people saw us together, laughing and smiling, they soon accepted that ‘sometimes age doesn’t matter’ and it made me more determined to prove that.

I went to university and worried a lot about what it meant for our relationship. Luckily for me, he wanted me to come home every weekend and sometimes during the week if I could. He’d show up when I was on nights out with my friends and say how much he missed me and that he’d come to take me home. I thought it was lovely to be missed and thought about so much.

When I moved out of halls, I moved in.

Things began to change without me really noticing, I wasn’t allowed my own key. I wasn’t allowed to have people round, I wasn’t allowed to bring more than a few items of clothing at a time, I couldn’t be there unless he was or unless I was locked in.

I was working as well as studying but earning barely enough to pay my train fare each week. This became an issue. He said university was pointless and I’d never succeed anyway. I needed to be paying half for the things we did together. Dinners out, day trips, holidays, all things I couldn’t afford and hadn’t chosen to do. I didn’t drive so would often end up waiting for hours at train stations or walking back alone late at night.

He started using my insecurities against me, he’d make passing remarks about my weight, about my body, about me being unstable or overly emotional. He’d make jokes about it in public and I’d laugh too to try and make it less painful.

He withheld affection and sex, it all became on his terms, which was hard considering I’d had a difficult history with intimacy. I’d overcompensate by spending money I didn’t have, buying him gifts or taking him out but it was always wrong and never enough. I knew he was cheating and with multiple people but I felt unable to act.

By this point, I’d become isolated at university.

I’d lost friends because I hadn’t seen them.

I’d been so determined to prove people wrong, how could I now tell them I was unhappy?

Before I knew it, I’d become entirely dependent on him. I was depressed, in debt, isolated and had no self worth.

Ending the relationship was the hardest and best thing I have ever done. It took all of my strength and all of my courage to acknowledge that it was unhealthy, even though I didn’t believe I deserved any better.

Initially he made it easy for me to leave. He was convinced I’d be back. Then he continued to try and control elements of my life.

He wouldn’t return my possessions for months.

He tarnished my reputation by fabricating reasons for our split – generally based on me being emotionally unstable and that he’d had to deal with a lot.

Classic manipulation really.

 It has taken years to regain some sense of identity, to begin to understand myself, even just figuring out what I like and don’t like.

It continues to affect my relationships now.

I am always fearful that being truly myself will leave me open to more hurt and harm so I never let my guard down and I push people away when they get too close.

It took a while for me to totally break free of him. I’ve done a lot of soul searching and have had counselling too. I still struggle now and find myself behaving in a very defensive way, like my body and mind are constantly in self preservation/flight mode. Intimacy is the hardest bit and I still struggle with the associations I have between sex and my self worth particularly – am I being used/do I feel obliged. I’m always learning and I have to really depend on and trust who I’m intimate with because I’m scared.

Learning to be loved and learning that sometimes it’s ok to rely and need other people is hard but necessary to have fulfilling relationships. Emotional abuse is abuse. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how long you’ve been together, your gender, if you’re straight or LQBTQ+, the affect can be devastating.

Understanding and recognising what constitutes a healthy relationship is essential. Encouraging a sense of self-worth is essential.

Until we start talking more openly about what happens behind closed doors and educating children and young people appropriately, everyone is ‘vulnerable’.”

If yourself, or anyone you know of, are at risk or have been affected by any issues in this post that you feel you need help with then please either reach out and use the contacts below, or drop me a message on my contact page

It doesn’t matter if you are unsure, or if the incident was long ago. If it is impacting your safety, wellbeing and health then make it a priority. 


Victim Support: Free confidential service tailored to your needs. Online, calls or 
Samaritans: Call or drop in for help, support or advice 
MIND: Offer information about abuse, and contacts for qualified counsellors 

Other sources of help, advice and domestic abuse helplines can be found on the Crime Stoppers website. 


Break Free from Comparative Behaviour and Negative Self-Talk [4 Challenges]

Practical advice how to transform four common thinking errors and break free from negative self-talk.

Have you ever caught yourself scrutinising yourself in front of the mirror?

You stand there, staring hard, taking in all the small marks on your face, noticing all the freckles, birthmarks and spots.

You look hard at your thighs, the tiny bit of belly fat that you’ve accumulated over a few nights of late night drinking and pizza sessions.

Then to make matters worth you click onto Instagram only to spend the next hour trolling through feeds of thin, toned beautiful (yet photoshopped) pictures, and everyones green smoothies and poached eggs.

Instantly you’re filled with unnecessary guilt and regret.

They all appear so happy and confident.

Your comparing turns to despairing.
You begin to feel imperfect in comparison to these supposedly ‘perfect’ ideals.
Before you know it that well known negative self-talk record hits repeat.

It is estimated that 1 in 100 will suffer from some form of eating disorder, body dysmorphia or muscle dysmorphia.


Unsurprisingly this correlates with the increase in social media, “fitspo” accounts, dating apps, and commercialised diets.

Exposure to thin ideals in the media has been shown to adversely influence how one perceives their own body image and internalises feedback from others.

Comparing yourself endlessly to those you meet or see on social media, in magazines or TV, increased your risk of developing mood disorders (depression/anxiety), and  higher levels of internalising  thin ideals (Tiggemann, 2004; Yamamiya, 2005).
In short,  what we feed our minds with literally has the power to transform our personal growth, impact self-esteem and confidence in our own skin.

We live in a warped society whereby beauty, weight and shape equates to our self worth, happiness and success:

Dion’s (1972) ‘beautiful is good’ hypothesis: a remarkable amount of research supporting the influence appearance has on how we judge others, with more attractive pictures yielding higher ratings of happiness, success, likability and health.

Women who view these images on a regular basis have reported higher levels of body dissatisfaction; lower self-esteem and positivity about their futures. However, if they were told that the person they viewed was unhappy or unsuccessful this had reduced effect.

The more you tell yourself negatives, the more you’ll believe them.

Have you ever come away feeling good about yourself after comparing yourself to others?

No. You feel inferior. It saps your confidence.

The problem is the more you allow yourself to listen, and believe, these thoughts they stick like glue, becoming hardwired habitual thought processes you just can’t seem to switch off.

Hebbs Law: “what fires together wires together”.

It is widely used to explain how we form automatic memories, but this is also applied to automatic thought processes and addictive behaviours, which are learnt.

Such as having a cigarette with a glass of wine, even though you swore you’d quit!

Negative self-talk is poisonous and often is a reflection of the faulty, internalised beliefs you hold about yourself.

So Lets Get Positive.

Cognitive restructuring, or, thought correction, involves a desire to change your thinking by challenging negative and faulty errors.  Unlearning behaviours and changing your internal belief system doe not happen over night.  It takes perseverance and practice to literally re-wire the way you think.

The following are four common thinking errors and some practical challenges to help start your journey towards balanced thinking:

  1. Black-and-White (or dichotomous) thinking.

You fit yourself into one of two extremes; there is no continuum or ‘grey area’. You then judge yourself harshly; find yourself easily stressed and unable to see alternative explanations or logical reasoning.

e.g: ‘fat’ or ‘thin’, ‘failure’ or ‘success’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’.


  • Do you judge others by extremes? Then why judge yourself by a harsher standard.
  • Start to see the continuum, notice that not being a 10 does not automatically place you at the bottom as a 1.
  • Eliminate the loaded language you use in the extremes. E.g. “I’m scrawny” becomes “I have a thin physique”. It’s less damning and emotionally unloaded.
  1. Comparisons to Unrealistic Expectations.

You pit yourself against ideals and spend more time focusing on what you don’t have than what you do have. You end up making copious social comparisons wanting the desirable characteristics others display and believing they must be happier because of them.

You may also believe you ‘ought/must/should’ have certain attributes, and with unobtainable ideal of ‘perfection’ you always fall short, thus you find yourself constantly beaten down and falling short.


  • Remind yourself that no one is perfect. In fact perfection doesn’t exist because it is a subjective phenomenon. Media is photo shopped and even your friend with the gorgeous smile hates elements about herself, but she rocks what she’s got and so should you.
  • When you find yourself making a negative comparison balance it out with a positive to compare yourself favorably.
  • A mental compliment to someone is not an automatic criticism of you. Learn to give and receive compliments, then repeat them to yourself to allow yourself to believe and see them.
  • Reduce the time you spend scrolling through social media/Instagram, and filter out accounts that constantly make you feel downhearted.
  1. Projection/Mind-Reading.

You place your own beliefs, and evaluations about yourself into the minds of others. If you assume that your worth is defined by your appearance and you worry what others will think, you will find yourself falling into the category vulnerable to projection, and miss-reading peoples body language and behaviours.


  • What contradicting evidence do you have? Are these thoughts reflecting how you feel about yourself?
  • Remind yourself that it’s not you, and that the person probably seems off because he/she is having a bad day. Remind yourself of the other options for the behaviours.
  • Remind yourself that no one else sees you in the critical way you see yourself. That is what needs to change.
  1. Magnifying Glass:

You have tunneled vision and focus on the one thing that is wrong, rather than looking at the picture as a whole. The opinion you have is biased, and it’s as if all other compliments, achievements and positive attributes are insignificant because you put so much emphasis onto this one aspect of yourself.


  • Stick positive post-it notes around your mirror so whenever you catch yourself scrutinising yourself you read a positive statement back. Then walk away from what you’re doing.
  • Take a step back and look at the bigger picture; notice that your thighs are in proportion to your body or that your smile isn’t as wonky as you thought.
  • Ask yourself why that part of you should mask the rest of you so much? It doesn’t define you, therefore you won’t let it.

These are just a few small steps to start you off on your journey to breaking maladaptive thought patterns, and comparative behaviours.

I hope you have found it useful, please do get in contact for any other advice or questions related to this or any of the other blog posts!

Stay Happy. Stay Healthy.

London’s Toughest for CLIC Sargent

On the 23rd April, 13:50, Callum and I set off on the London’s Toughest Race in aid of CLIC Sargent. 8km terrain, 40+ obstacles, fast lanes and penalty rounds for notcompleting obstacles. Raising and awesome £175 in total, Callum conquered this course, coming away with his well deserved medal, a heck of a lot of cramp.

As we both settled down, minions movie on and his congratulatory tub of Ben and Jerry’s being demolished, I consoled myself with mine. 

The weather cold, the course technical at times, and my height and size not giving me a huge advantage meant that unfortunately I had to drop out – unable to get my body temperature back to a reasonable level after wading through some muddy water in the woods. I was frozen to my core, and unzipping my jacket was and an obstacle in itself:  definite humiliation being 23 and having your dad undress you. Even after wrapping up in clean, warm layers, I was still shivering and fatigued.  

We were back in the arena though to cheer Callum on as he finished the final obstacles and  watched proudly as he had his glory photo taken on the podium. 

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However, I couldn’t help feeling horrendously disappointed in myself.

Months trying to train and build strength, and I’d ended up losing more muscle mass than putting on, and just clearly not in the same fit physical condition that I was for Tough Mudder last year, walking away without my medal, I felt I’d let the charity down, Callum down…and above all, myself down. Although I am very proud of the funds we managed to raise! 

For the week after I literally couldn’t get it out of my mind, and I felt pretty rubbish. However, stopping to reflect on the past few months leading up to the race (my mentality and training) helped highlight the conflict that’d I’d experienced wanting to get fitter and stronger, but also stay in the trim lean state I’d got to. There is of course a trade off between putting on muscle and staying so lean, and really, I would’ve much preferred to have completed this race, been a bit bigger, stronger and overall healthier for my height.

So without wallowing in self pity, I am seeing this as a chance to restart, and now I know what the course is like, maybe entering it next year…? I will of course continue pursuing other challenges (for myself and charities) and have my sight sets on the Guildford Triathlon Sprint, Spartan Races and Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. 

Although this medal is not hanging from my wall, give me a year or so and we’ll see what happens. After all, slow and steady wins the race…right? 

“If you focus on what you left behind you will never be able to see what’s ahead” – Ratatouille


Tough Mudder 2015: In aid of Mind

Well, it’s Sunday September the 27th and I’ve been snuggled in my trackies, rugby on, with a large cup of tea for most of the day. All I can think about is where I was this time yesterday: The Matterly Bowl, London South, Tough Mudder.

beginingrunI don’t know if any amount of training could’ve prepared me for enduring a 11.5 mile hill run, being plummeted into freezing cold murky water (with ice on one occasion), swinging from monkey bars, jumping off ledges, scrambling under barbed wire and down dark trenches, through thick thigh climb2high mud (I don’t know how I didn’t lose my trainers) and clambering over many wooden walls. But Laura and I did it! And in doing so have raised an incredible £1100 in aid of Mind.

Saying that I’ve pushed my body beyond its limits is an understatement; I surprised myself with my stamina and managed to run the whole thing (obviously you do stop at the obstacles and the water stations). I would like to mention that before this event the only runrunrunrunning I’d done was on a treadmill…definitely took a running dive straight into the deep end.

On route they had interspersed water and snack stations. We were both very pleased since are start time meant that we hadn’t had lunch and were running on our breakfast energy – which was a substantial bowl of protein porridge, but we were definitely in need of all the fuel we could get. Especially as the intense shock of the freezing water depletes muscle strength immensely!

In the run up for this challenge I have dedicated a lot of time to doing weights (I’m a big body pump fan!), aiming to increase my upper body strength and gain a more fit and athletic physique. I aimed to work out 4-5 times a week, including two HIIT (high interval training sessions) hill run/sprints. Early gym starts, a toughmudderintrainingcupboard stashed up on My Protein products, and eating about 4 meals a day. Eating has been essential with gaining muscle mass and I could not have done this if my eating disorder was still present! It has been such a fantastic experience being able to do this without the intrusive anorexic thoughts of calorie burning and weight loss sneaking into the back of my mind, and I have loved every minute of the training.

As Laura and I stood at the start line, with the pledge of comradeship done, and four months of training behind us, I have never felt so anxious – but at the same time rcrybaby2eady to blitz this! We definitely had different mentalities towards a lot of the obstacles, Laura being more cautious, and sensibly so when your about to crawl into a tunnel of tear gas or jump from a 5ft ledge on to unstable ground, and me with an all singing all dancing attitude likely to end in severe injury. Luckily the worst injury was a slightly pulled back muscle, bruise on the elbow and a broken nail. However, I am now suffering now with a nasty fluey cold and I think this is probably due to how cold I was at the end of the run and accidentally swallowing some stagnant water!!

The best feeling, other than running through that finish line and knowing that we had completed it, was the first time I saw my dad at the side. Due to the length of the course (12 miles) spectators  were limited to specific routes enabling them to see certain obstacles and parts of the runbolt, but not the whole course. I had lost hope of seeing my dad since we had started before he had arrived and were now a good two hours into the run. I told myself “you’ll see him at the finish line” and proceeded to encourage myself to keep going. Just as we were running on from one of the check points I looked up to hgogirlsear “there’s my baby girl” being shouted out and a camera phone held high in the air. A smile, that would envy even the Cheshire cat’s, spread across my face, and it was like a new buzz of energy was released in me. My dad used to run marathons back in his prime, and I wanted to show to him just how tough his ‘baby girl’ really was.

My Top 2 Favourite Obstacles of The Race

My favourite obstacle was the ‘King of the Swingers’ where you jump off a scaffolding ledge, grabbing hold of a metal bar gojoss copyin attempt to swing and hit a bell, and launching yourself into deep, muddy water. Signs posted stating “strong swimmers only” were planted around the vicinity, and just previously to our arrival there an ambulance had taken one lady away on a stretcher who had unfortunately had another person launched on to her.
It is exhilarating, thrilling and down right dirty when you accidentally swallow that filthy, brown, water -but it was refreshing to wash off the mud that had began to dry in thick patches all over my skin.By the time we’d reached this obstacle we’d already ran 9-10 miles and were fatiguing; with muscles aching and shivering from the setting sun, there were times where I had to run on from Laura just to keep my body heat up.

My second favourite, ‘The Muddy Mile’; a mile of thick, waist high mud, double high entrance and exit mounds, with mudder2vertical mud masses interspersed between the pools of mud to clamber over and slide down into more waist high gloop. Being a bit of a tomboy the thought of climbing and sliding around in thick mud was actually pretty fun! What wasn’t fun was then running afterwards, covered in an extra few pounds of mud weight! But did that stop us?! Not a chance!

lauraandiThe Final Ascent

As we queued for Everest the sun was setting behind the rolling hills, and many people were shivering. We were at the penultimate hurdle, but I was beginning to falter. I was so cold and my feet sodden, arms scratched and muscles torn and sore. But there I was, face-to-face with a quarter pipe covered in slippery mud, with a rope that looked suspect to having no grip left – and it didn’t. People were jumping and jogging on the spot to keep body heat up and there were moments where I felt as though I was going to be sick. As I used the last inch of my leg power I launched myself up, grabbing on to two of my fellow mudders hands that had stationed themselves above the ramp ready to pull others over.

We’d made it.

Everest2 copy

It Was All Thanks To You!

I cannot begin to say how thankful I am to each and every one of you who sponsored Laura and I. The money raised is overwhelming, and as I ran through the finish line tears pricked the back of my eyes – partly from pain and tiredness, and then from sheer amazement that both Laura and I had completed and survived this challenge which a year or two ago would have been incomprehensible. That cider we were given on completion tasted so sweet!Finished

Final Reflections

Limitations only exist if you let them.

The tough mudder is definitely a mental challenge as well as physical one, and as I was running the last mile I felt the strongest I’d ever felt.

The best thing was that there were people there from every walk of life; some at the peak of their fitness, others who were not. All shapes, ages, and sizes.

This challenge has proved to me that when I set my mind to something I see it through to the end and don’t allow any limitations to drag me down. Whatever your ‘tough challenge’ may be, may this be proof to you that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.


“Don’t just fly, soar.” – Dumbo