Why The Whole “New Year, New Me” Is B******t!

As we roll into a new year, it’s a great time to make plans and set goals for the year ahead. Keeping that in mind, get ready for your social media to be blasted with the whole “New Year, New me” saga and DON’T even get me started on those 8 week challenges!

Let’s take a step back here and look at the big picture, why the hell are we wanting to change who we are? Last time I checked I was pretty happy with little old me, warts and all-(I hope you are too!) Without even knowing, people are already putting pressure on themselves because “this is year that it’s going to happen-I’m going to lose a ton of weight in the new year and my life will be perfect!” When the seed is planted it usually starts with the person doing serious damage over the Christmas holidays and then restricting themselves 100% in the new year! “Hello misery!”

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I’m all for people making positive steps to achieve overall mental and physical health but these plans you’re being sold don’t actually help with any of that long term (unless you are working with a qualified professional of course-do your research!). Yes, you will lose weight but is it sustainable? And how happy will it actually make you!

It’s taken me a long time to really be happy in my own skin and I feel it’s my prerogative to help others because that place can be dark. I too used to be that person who said I’ll wait until the new year to lose a few pounds, I too started the new year cutting out all the food groups under the sun trying to achieve that and guess what? It sucked, not only did it suck, a few months later when I started eating all those forbidden fruits, I had failed (or so I thought!).

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I’m not a negative person so don’t see this as a negative post, every year is a new beginning, it’s exciting and fresh. Every new year is a year to better yourself from the previous but please be mindful with your goals. Set realistic goals, year long goals, lifetime goals, it’s not a sprint people! Achieving a healthy body and mind permanently takes times and if you are willing to invest in yourself then changes will happen.

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January can be a daunting time on social media as everyone seems to be shouting about some kind of diet or new training plan, don’t waste your energy trying to mimic someone else’s goals, again bring it back to you and push forward! Social media can be a great place too- those rough days when you need inspiration/motivation to get to the gym or for meeting like minded people who share the same passion, a support group if you will!

Enjoy each day and don’t stress thinking about the finish line. Enjoy the process, learn and grow!

I wasn’t planning on blogging until the new year, but just wanted to throw out a positive message as we close off this chapter! I wish you all magical, positive vibes for 2017 and thanks to everyone who supported me to date, you rock!! I’d love to hear about your goals and plans for the new year so don’t be strangers!

Namaste ❤

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Body Dysmorphia And Me

While getting ready to go to dinner last week I looked in mirror and felt great, I loved my dress, my make up and my hair. It’s crazy to me that there was a time where I could barely face looking in the mirror and when I did, I hated everything that glanced back. Changing an outfit 75 times wouldn’t be uncommon.

Why was it that all I could see was my “flaws”, all the bits that I didn’t like? In those moments, I had a lightbulb moment -if I was skinner my life will be perfect! Genius right? This led me to obsess about everything I ate and as I lost weight did my life magically transform? No, if anything it made me worse, I was full of hate towards myself for not being “perfect”.

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Speaking Up

I felt so guilty all the time. I had a great upbringing, full of love and support so I hated that I felt the way I did about myself. I knew there were people with much bigger problems. My parents separated 3 years previously (when I was 14) so I guess that affected me more than I believed. There’s a lot of uncertainty that surrounds you when a family breaks down. As a teenager you’re dealing with so many changes as it is, throw a separation into the mix and you are bound to retaliate in some way . I don’t dwell on those times though, I’m a stronger person because of it today, and I’m grateful to still have my family close to me.

I’ve read stories of Body Dysmorphia sufferers, that they can become very introverted and uncomfortable leaving the house. I was singing in bands at the time, so I believe this played a great part in building my confidence up (though it took me years to realise this) and I had a great circle of friends who supported me. I remember one of my friends telling me to write a daily journal of my emotions (way before its time, right?) I’d let him read it and we would talk about it! I would advise anyone feeling this way to be vocal, there is no shame in these things!

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I know age is a big factor in this. I turned 30 this year, so I naturally felt more confident than 18 year old Aimee. I have the most supportive “partner in crime” who stands by every decision I make and constantly pushes me to give my all, whether that be in my day job or training/fitness.

I’ve said it many times but immersing myself into the world of health and fitness played a big part. Lifting weights was a huge breakthrough for me. It allowed me to celebrate the great things my body can do! It helped me see myself in a different light. I no longer focused on shape or size, I just wanted the numbers on the barbell to rise. Crossfit and Weightlifting gave me the confidence I spent years searching for.

My best advice; find something you love, something that makes you feel alive and repeat it. That dance class you loved as a kid or surprise yourself with something you never had the confidence to try. Just do things that make YOU happy!

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Moving Forward

People comment on my positivity a lot, and I feel when you’ve had dark days in your life, it’s not a negative, they don’t define you, they’re just life lessons. It’s important to look back and appreciate the journey you’ve had. The steps that have taken you to the present.

There are days when self doubt may try to worm its way in and that’s OK, it doesn’t mean you’re back to square one. When it happens treat yourself to something nice, show yourself some self-appreciation.

Every step forward starts with self-belief. In this digital age we can easily compare ourselves to others and feel less worthy, but that needs to stop. Have you ever looked back and reminded yourself of all the great experiences you’ve had, great times with family and friends? All that can be forgotten about when you constantly compare yourself to others.

When you grow to accept yourself (warts and all) there is a beautiful sense of peace that comes with it. It takes time, love and nourishment. It’s important not to chase the finish line, take baby steps daily and remember to breathe.

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One of my most honest musings I hope you enjoyed, if you ever want to talk to me on this subject I’m always available on any of my pages or pop me an email: primalpiggy@gmail.com.

6 Fun Facts About Me…

Usually within about 20 minutes of meeting me, I nearly always hear the words “You’re mad” I guess being an Aquarian there is a wacky eccentricity to my personality and I wouldn’t change it for the world! Blogs can sometimes be one sided, yeah I lift weights, make healthy food but there’s so much more that happens in life that we don’t get to talk about! I put together some fun facts to show you a different side to my usual shenanigans……

#1 Glasto Veteran

I attended Glastonbury festival 6 years in a row (2004-2010, it wasn’t on in 2006) Yes, 6 years of muddy festival madness and still no other festival has come close to the awesome-ness of Glasto! I have so many great memories like that first year I almost turned Hare Krishna (long story), secret Radiohead gigs, Bjork, strawberry cider, 4am raves and so much more. I’m yet to make a come back, though I feel I could only commit to it with a camper van, really showing my age now lol! I reckon everyone needs to experience this amazing place at least once in a lifetime.When are the tickets on sale again?

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#2 Tan Virgin

Up until last year I was a fake tan virgin! I’ve always been quite the tomboy so didn’t trust myself to actually apply it properly. I’m lucky to be quite sallow, well when I actually see the sunshine (which is quite rare) I get a great tan! We all know how great you feel when you have a color so last year before a friends hen party I decided to get a spray tan. I was hooked immediately, the colour was so close to my natural tone and gave me that “señorita” look, I knew it wouldn’t be the last time I got one. Now that the summer is here it’s time to get the legs out, I mean why do all that training if you can’t show them off? Spray tans will definitely be part of my summer regime this year. There’s still no way I’ll do it myself, I love tigers but I don’t want to look like one!

#3 The Sound Of Music

Coming from a musical family it’s no surprise that I got involved myself! I started singing/performing arts at the age of 11 (Back in my Britney days!) and I actively sang right up until I was 24, although most nights out usually end up with me belting out a few tunes. I was also a dancer-mostly hip hop from the age of 12 and competed in national competitions winning a few in the process. I was even part of the Dublin All Star Marching Band, I was on the pom poms. Discovering rock music meant leaving my dancing shoes behind as I felt is was no longer “cool”  but I progressed into a band with friends in school. I believe these lessons are still relevant today, when I competed in my first weightlifting competition I was able to block out the people watching, just like my past performances, resulting in less nerves!

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#4 Aimee Rainbows

A bit Cringe! But this was a nickname of mine for years, there was different variations e.g Mimi Rainbows, Little Rainbows, Rainbow Girl the list went on. The background? I used to wear some pretty wacky clothes, every colour and pattern you could imagine, in fact I didn’t even own any black clothes until I was 22 and that was because I got a job in BT2. Prior to that I worked in Georges St Arcade for 3 years and I guess embracing a unique style was part of the resume there. My first tattoo was a crayon style rainbow, to always remind me of this time in my life and just to always remember to embrace your creative side.

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#5 All The Ink

Following from that last point, I have seven tattoos in total (and no intention of stopping there!) My tattoos include the rainbow on my left foot (meaning above), on my right foot I have a blue bird with a line from “Somewhere over the rainbow” in memory of my nana-I should add this was by far the most painful! Others include an owl on my arm and a wolf/skull on my calf- to mark my five year anniversary with Christy, small designs on each wrist and a Thai design done with bamboo on a trip to Thailand. I would love a half sleeve but would only choose an artist I love for this, I’m very picky so this could take a while! I want my body to represent my life, exciting moments, adventures etc it’s how I express myself. When people ask me “But, what will you look like when you’re 70?” I always say I will look 70 with tattoos? I’ll still be Aimee and it’s my choice anyway! Some girls love shoes, I love tattoos!

#6 Fashion Blogger

Despite the fact that my wardrobe is 98% gym gear I did have great fashion sense once upon a time! As a teenager I loved to express myself through fashion and music, I didn’t care much what people thought of me and my main objective was to never look like anyone else. I remember one time my brother refusing to give me a lift because my outfit was too “out there!” I never pursued this passion until about 5 years ago I set up a Tumblr account and decided to start a fashion blog! It turned out that fire had long gone out as I didn’t feel it represented my current goals. This led me to pursue my passion for health, fitness and recipe making- thus Primal Piggy was born a year later. You never know how things can turn out, you have to take risks. Remember failing is not permanent, it’s a lesson learned! So if you believe in something keep pushing forward, work hard and dreams will become reality….

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Finding The Balance

For as long as I can remember there was always something I didn’t eat! For 10 years, I cut out one of the biggest food groups-MEAT… I became a veggie for no exact reason other than I was fussy (and I lost a bet). I literally didn’t eat a crumb of meat or fish for a decade and after being diagnosed with a B12 deficiency I knew things had to change. My training also played a bit part in my transition as I didn’t feel I could fuel my body training such high intensity sports without eating sufficient protein.

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I then made the leap from a Veggie to a Paleo-ish diet, again restricting myself with a low carb, high fat diet. I found this period to be the hardest because I became obsessed with eating the most natural products available to me. This meant any time I was stuck without food, it created unnecessary anxiety. It usually ended up with me over eating high fats such a nuts or nut butter, causing me to store extra fat.

Nowadays, I don’t really cut out anything! I keep my treats for the weekend (I say this as I inhale some mini kinder chocolates on a Tuesday) I don’t cut out food groups anymore and my relationship with food has changed significantly. I was always “that girl” who had to be awkward but now I enjoy food for what it is-FOOD!

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I genuinely love healthy food and if I can get a burger wrapped in lettuce, I’ll go for that, because I prefer it. If I can’t, I can’t and I don’t get stressed about it. I’ll probably just skip the fries. Restricting yourself of major food groups can create an unhealthy relationship with food. I know because I was there, I would eat super healthy during the week, then come the weekend my “cheat meal” would become a “cheat day” and I would feel guilty because I let my guard down. It’s taken time to change and I feel that by allowing myself the odd “treat” (not cheat) it’s more sustainable long term because I believe in the long term plan, not any quick fix diets.

What methods to I live by now? Eat your carbs (around training), eat more protein, eat your veggies, watch those fats, enjoy treats from time to time and if you want a glass of wine on a Friday (or Tuesday) then have it!

Finding balance has been important to me, it helps me to live in the moment and enjoy whatever life throws at me. I am foodie and I love how food brings people together, it could be a bbq, a random date night or just some friends eating burger chatting about life.

It’s all about that balance baby ❤

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5 Activities For A Digital Detox

We now live in an environment where people talk more through phones and iPads than face to face. As a self confessed social media nerd I know that my phone has become an extension of my arm, but I’ve learned the importance of putting it down and switching off.

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When I first started the blog I was pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing. I was new to blogging and social media in general, I wasn’t just creating a blog I was learning all the tricks to go with it.

I said yes to every opportunity that came my way not realizing that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything and have time for yourself. It wouldn’t be unusual for me to sit up writing, creating, learning until 1am (yes, even on weekdays) but it wasn’t sustainable, I was wired going to bed, unable to switch off. This really disrupted my sleep and I can tell you that I was never a bad sleeper so I knew the root of the cause. This led me to seek ways to switch off and disconnect from the digital world and thankfully I have changed! Researching ways to manage my own social media like scheduling or by simply chipping away at posts instead of spending hours on one!

Here’s my 5 best tips for disconnecting from the digital world:

#1 Colouring books

Kind of old news now but adult colouring books exploded onto the scene last year as a great way to destress the mind. Put the gadgets away and let your creative side run wild, it’s amazing how relaxing it is! I especially find it great before bed as it’s so therapeutic and can help you drift off into a lovely deep sleep! Ban all gadgets from the bedroom and keep the colouring book beside your bed instead.

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#2 Make friends with the outdoors

There is no better way to have a digital detox than getting outside for camping, running or even just walking. Being outdoors is in our DNA and it’s proven to help lower your blood pressure and boost your immune system.We’re blessed in Ireland with stunning landscapes and open plains so why not get out and enjoy it. Go to the back of beyond where there is no signal and enjoy time relaxing/exploring with family and friends.

#3 Get Lost in a book

Not an audio book or a podcast unfortunately! The idea is to step away from your phone, I mean an “actual” book. People tend to believe that they don’t have time to read but there is so much time in the day, especially if you remove your phone from the equation. If you use public transport then use that time to read, or ban phones in the bedroom and instead read your book before bed, I guarantee you will drift off a lot easier. Goodreads is a great app to use as you can set a goal of how many books you want to get through for the year, get some friends to do the same or start a book club!

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#4 Get some Headspace

With everyone leading busier lives than ever before, it can be hard to find time to relax and get some peace and quiet. Meditating can be a great way to pull yourself out of the moment to really find your zen. Even though it goes against this whole blog post, I love the Headspace app. If you’re using this make sure your phone is out of hands reach. Going for a walk can be another way to gather your thoughts, leave the phone at home and get some fresh air. If you want something different then a flotation tank can be a fantastic way of getting out of a busy routine and Planet Earth really! Harvest Moon in Dublin 2 is the place to do this.

# 5 Put a pen to paper

Journaling can be a fun way to relax, you can write down fond memories or key events in your life without relying on social media. In book shops such as Easons or Hodges Figgis, there are tons of great books for documenting parts of your life. It could be recipes of writing a gratitude diary, have a look at see what catches your eye.  When I travelled in Asia I didn’t have a phone at all for 3 months, but I documented the journey in a diary, I wrote something every single day and it was pretty comforting, like I was talking to my nearest and dearest.

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There are so many ways to disconnect from technology for some peace of mind. I love the internet and how the we are constantly evolving but sometimes you just need to switch off. If you think about it we do almost everything on our phones these days, it won’t do you harm to go without for a few hours, everything will still be there when you log back in!

A Bird Flew The Nest…

So this is not a blog about nutrition nor a blog about fitness at all! Writing has always been a passion of mine, I’m not the best writer out there but I enjoy it! Sometimes I just go loco on the keyboard when I want to talk about something and that’s kind of what happened this evening! When I sang in bands my lyrics were as simple as you could get, nothing cryptic or fancy I just said what I meant and it worked! So I hope this works too, today’s blog is an ode to my sister and to anyone who has siblings or family abroad.

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My big sister Karen emigrated to California 4 years ago now and I was so proud to see her go. You see Karen always told me when we were kids that she would live in the US, well she dreamed it and she did it! She now lives over there with her Peruvian husband Martin and they have just bought their first home. Another proud moment, I mean I’ll always have a place to stay ha ha! But seriously it’s a beautiful home and seeing them have a sleep over on the first night, filled my heart with happiness. Blankets on the floor, eating sushi as happy as can be!

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When someone in your family emigrates as happy as you are for them, a huge part of you is sad. Someone who has been around everyday of your life, suddenly isn’t there anymore! (How did we manage before Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime! But sometimes it just doesnt cut it) For the first year, I just expected her to be back like she always had been, but as time goes on you get used to it in a weird way! Has anyone seen Brooklyn? My god I sobbed at that movie, even as the ship sailed off, I was in tears, as I could relate(Those airport goodbyes just never get easier do they?). As could my mam, sitting beside me on the sofa wiping the tears from her face.

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But, what about the time’s you do meet up again, how special they are? When you squeeze each other so tight you nearly forget to let go! I’ll never forget the time Karen and Martin surprised us here, I definitely lost a life that day! They’re now banned from surprises! I’ve been over to them a few times now and it’s brilliant. Myself and Karen can usually be found drinking wine until 5am and then I panic that I’m still on the Irish time zone and quickly go to bed! We’ll wake up early and do it all again, so much to catch up on and for her to introduce me to every new aspect of her life!

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I’m a proud little sister who gets selfish every now and again! My brother is getting married this year and we’ll all be reunited again (there’s four of us by the way) I can’t wait for the catch ups, the laughter and the madness. These moments become such highlights because they’re rare! So we cherish every second that the 4 of us are together…

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That’s just a snippet of my side of the story, Karen has an incredible way of words. She writes all about her life as an emigrant on her blog: The Warblings Of A Wanderer, so be sure to check it out! You can expect tears and laughter as she describes her life over in sunny Cali!

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What You See Is What You Get…

Have you ever looked at someone else and wished to be like them? Looked at how they work a crowd, how successful they are or even how fit? In some cases people change their true selves just to impress people, to fit in and hope that they’ll be liked in return! What is wrong with the human way that we struggle so much to be confident in who we are?

Take me for example, what you see is what you get! I’m a no nonsense, honest person who sees the best in everyone, but this has ended with some negative situations over the years! In the past I struggled to speak my mind, I always wanted to be “that person” who would tell people where to go or how I don’t agree with their views etc. I mean I could play out the whole conversation in my head and when it came to it? SILENCE! I’d get so frustrated, why should I give the power to someone else, I’m a strong individual myself! I had friends who could stand up for their beliefs and to be honest most people thought I was like that, It wasn’t that I lacked confidence, I just couldn’t face the confrontation!

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Over the years I’ve gotten better, I guess that’s normal with age too! Mr. Piggy has helped inspire me on so many occasions and standing up for yourself feels so good! But why do we have to? Why should we feel bad because of someone else’s instability? We shouldn’t! It’s time to love and accept ourselves and stand up for our own beliefs, even if it means stepping outside of your comfort zone! I promise you, it will feel good!

Life has many ups and downs and this is something I have experienced closely over the last few months. There will be tough days, even tears but all these difficult experiences make us stronger in time! It’s these times that will help us understand who we are and what we want in our lives!

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Don’t EVER change who you are just to impress someone, learn to laugh at yourself and in the difficult situations, stand up for everything you believe in!

Namaste xx