Recent Posts

Adventures in Gluten-Free – Courgette, Sweetcorn and Quinoa Egg Bake

Adventures in Gluten-Free – Courgette, Sweetcorn and Quinoa Egg Bake

I was reading this recipe by Naturally Zass this morning in bed, and was inspired – not least because I’m addicted to courgettes at the moment. I figure there are worse things to be addicted to. Anyway, the idea of a courgette-y egg-y thing to […]

Why You’re Not Losing Any Weight – and Why You Should Carry On Anyway

Why You’re Not Losing Any Weight – and Why You Should Carry On Anyway

I have a confession to make. I haven’t lost a single pound in over three weeks. Yes, that’s right – I’m considering myself a blogger about weight loss… But one that isn’t losing any weight. It’d be very, very easy to get disillusioned at this […]

…A Gluten-Free What?

…A Gluten-Free What?

My suspicions have been confirmed – I need to bin gluten from my diet. This isn’t a big surprise – I’ve noticed over the last couple of months that I’ve been getting sick after I eat wheat, or things containing it. I’ve always thought that I’ve had a sort of abnormally bloated feeling after meals, but I thought that was because I was eating too much. Which I was. And that’s why I’m writing a blog called “Fat Girl, PhD.”

I’ve always been inclined to get sick when I’m stressed out – but I think I’ve figured that out too. I’m a comfort eater, so when I’m emotional, I eat, and the foods I choose to eat when I’m emotionally eating include things like pizza, pizza and… Yeah. You get the gist. What does worry me, however, is the fact that I’ve had a lot of knee surgery as a result of my accident a few years ago, but I’m now ever so slightly suspicious that the last surgery may have been to treat pain that might (might!) have been related to an allergy. I say this because I was near enough convinced I needed the same surgery to the other leg before I cut down on wheat, and now… I’m near enough pain free.

Scary.

Anyway, this means it’s time to rethink my eating habits quite extensively. I’ve been following a low-carb (note: not no-carb), high-protein plan for a while now, which is how I discovered this issue – so fortunately I’m fairly clued up on some excellent recipes. I’ve already discovered (and gotten addicted to) quinoa and lentils, and I’m almost over the need for my ‘daily bread’ …although I will admit that I’ve stocked up on GF bread products that were reduced at the supermarket on the way home. I figure they’re a handy thing to have in the freezer.

At an initial glance, though, I’m surprised at how many pre-packaged gluten-free products are actually quite bad for you – well, not bad, but…not great, for something that looks like it should be super-healthy. I’ve already been making steps towards eating clean, trying to use as few processed foods as possible in my diet, and keeping packaged products to a minimum, but obviously I’m not a fully fledged clean eater. This gluten-free business is either going to make that much easier, or much more difficult.

I’m aiming for the former.

It’s quite interesting to me that going gluten-free is more a psychological issue than anything else. We don’t need gluten, and my body actively dislikes it – but most, if not all, of my comfort foods are packed full of it. Bread, pizza, pasta, biscuits… If you’d told me a year ago I’d have to give this up, well… I don’t know. I think I’d have probably opted for the stomach and knee pain. Now, though, I have different resources for coping with stress, or just for finding pleasure.

Now, I’d choose an intensive yoga class (like the one I’ve just had – phew!) over a trip to Pizza Hut; a cup of green tea over a chocolate biscuit. I’d choose the thing my body wants over the thing my brain thinks it needs. And dammit, I feel pretty good about that. It’s indicative of the general trend of getting rid of negative influences one by one – smoking, painkillers, fat – that’s meant that I’m a much stronger person now than I was then.

So, yes, I was miffed (to say the least) when I called for my test results earlier today. But I’ve already made most of the changes I need to make, so now it’s just a matter of being a bit more selective (and savvy – gluten-free and cheap don’t seem to go well together) and focusing on changing for the better.

So… Anybody got any good tips for going gluten free? And what can you change today that will make your life better?

Why I Love Yoga… and your Monday Inspiration!

Why I Love Yoga… and your Monday Inspiration!

I love yoga. This isn’t something I thought I’d ever say, being rather inflexible and a bit of a chunky monkey. When I first started on this journey, and I had two problems with yoga. Firstly, surely if you’re trying to lose weight, you should be […]

Choosing Your Goals – and My New Ones!

Choosing Your Goals – and My New Ones!

Yesterday, I made an exciting decision. In 7 weeks, I’m doing the Race for Life with my Mum and sister! We did it once before, years and years ago when I was still at school, and I huffed and puffed my way through walking the […]

Back to the Future

Back to the Future

A very, very large part of my reason to move to this particular flat was location, location, location. It’s closer to my family, and it’s two doors down from the flat I lived in that day when I made the decision to enter the gym across the road. Yesterday, I rejoined said gym – and tonight, I saw my old trainer (who is amazing – even if he’s fairly brutal in his circuits class!) and the very, very lovely receptionists who were always super encouraging of yours truly, Fat Girl PhD, when I was double fat.

Honestly, it’s so thrilling to be back. I’ve been to a few different gyms, having moved quite a lot over the last year or so – but none of them are as friendly, encouraging, or as all-round-great as my (new) local gym. So it’s all good on that front.

And something even more exciting has happened too – I’ve gained the ULTIMATE WORKOUT BUDDY.

My sister and I used to work out together, but we were both very much at different points in our fitness, and we both had very different goals – but the last two nights we’ve gone together and we’re the perfect match. I feel like writing her a love letter or something of the like.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not easy. She is a HARD taskmaster. I did ask for it though – we were doing the plank, counting backwards from 30, and I foolishly decided to add in a few random “and a halfs” along the way. Thought I was being clever, didn’t I?

So then, she got me doing some evil, evil leg stretches and bends that she’s learned from a (clearly sadistic) aerobics instructor. Consider me punished.

Anyway, the point I’m getting to is that finding a place where you can work out and genuinely enjoy yourself – and feel comfortable shakin’ yo’ ass on a treadmill, or hand-dancing to Nicki Minaj on a bike – makes a huge difference to your attitude towards working out. And finding the ultimate workout buddy? That’s harder – but if you can find one, you’ll see the difference when you’re trying exercises you’d never normally attempt, and having a giggle at the same time.

After all, laughing’s got to be good for the abs – right?

Escaping Emotional Eating

Escaping Emotional Eating

I’m an emotional eater. No doubt about that. That’s pretty much why, when I had two broken legs, I ballooned in weight – it’s the way I deal with that stress. It’s also why I’ve always had snacks on standby when PhDing, because – believe […]

It’s Not Just About Weight Loss

It’s Not Just About Weight Loss

Don’t get me wrong – when I first took those footsteps into the gym, it was all about weight loss. I was never a depressed, shy, or insecure fat girl, and I didn’t want to lose weight because I hated myself, or how I looked. […]

Face Your Fears, Baby!

Face Your Fears, Baby!

I know there are lots of people in the world doing amazing things every day, and the Olympics are coming to town soon – so my miniscule athletic prowess isn’t all that impressive in the grand scheme of things… But today, for the first time since I broke my knees in 2007 (actually considerably longer than that – I’ve never been particularly fit!)…

…I ran!

On a treadmill!

I’ve had the fear of doing that for years and years – not just because I couldn’t walk without dislocating a knee. When I was in school, I hated running. I’ve just got no natural aptitude for it. Plus, there are all the embarrassing things that come with being the fat girl trying to run – the jiggling boobs, the wobbling butt, the ill-fitting clothes… It’s just not a good look.

So, for the whole time I’ve been trying to get fit, I’ve avoided it.

But today, I woke up with a bit of a fire in my belly and headed out to the gym, determined to stomp into Monday. Music on, head down, I was doing my usual program on the treadmill – and then possibly one of my favourite motivational tunes ever came on. (If you’re interested, you can find it here – forgive the family plug, but she really is fabulous and it’s a great song!)

Next thing I know, I’ve got the finger down hard on the speed button and I was off! Only for a minute, mind – but I did that three times before the end of my workout. You know, rinse and repeat.

Given I thought for a very long time that I wouldn’t be able to walk without discomfort for what was looking like the rest of my life, this was no small thing for me. So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m feeling rather self-congratulatory – I haven’t yet high-fived my reflection… But give it time.

It did make me think, though, how much of both the weight loss, and the PhD, are about squaring up to ‘the fear’ and charging it head on. I know many of my fellow PhDs will be familiar with ‘impostor syndrome,’ whereby you spend your days waiting to be found out as undeserving of your place in academia – and as a fat girl in the gym, you spend a lot of time waiting for the tap on the shoulder asking you to leave. I even feel like a bit of an impostor now – I’m definitely not done being the ‘fat girl’ yet, so writing a blog about fitness seems a little bit wrong.

But these sorts of things can stop you doing what you need to do. God knows it’d be easier to just go home and live up to the stereotype with a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s, drop out of the PhD, cancel my gym membership for pizza money, yadda yadda… That would be easy.

But is easy what you want?

Remember the times you’ve kicked ass, and had that brief flash of not feeling like an impostor. Those moments, basically, where you feel like the business. Take those moments, cling to them – and then get off your ass and make them happen more often! That feeling, I think, is worth a whole lifetime of ‘easy.’

Motivation and Maintaining Your Goals

Motivation and Maintaining Your Goals

I think I’m one of those people that does their best to make life difficult for themselves. I think that’s taken as read when you decide to do a PhD – in anything – and on top of a job? Well, that’s just a fool’s […]

Why Am I Writing About Fitness?

Why Am I Writing About Fitness?

My name’s Katie. I’m 24 years old. I’m attempting to do a Literature PhD on top of a full-time job (because let’s face it – a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.) Fortunately it’s a job I love, so I’m very lucky in […]