WIA back in uni

When I headed off to uni in 2004 I thought I was incredibly grown up and aware of the world…

Jess and Me at Uni

Not the case at all.  I didn’t have a clue!

The norm for my group of friends in the first year was to stay out late five nights a week.  I’d always been a morning person, but all of a sudden I wasn’t getting in until 3am and I had  9am lectures the following day?…Not quite sure how I made it to so many!

Although I’d made ‘meals’ for myself occasionally back when I’d been  living with my parents, those meals consisted of cheese sandwiches, a soup heated up from a can or a bowl of cereal.  It was a big shock to the system when I had to prepare all of my own meals.  Staffordshire University offered a meal deal at the uni canteen consisting of 2 meals per day for £75 a week, but I really didn’t fancy eating from the same menu every single day and having to go across to eat in the same place, most likely alone, as none of my friends took advantage of the deal either.

{YEAR 1:}

I was lazy and uneducated when it came to preparing my own meals.  Breakfast, if I had it at all was often 2/3 slices of heavily buttered white toast.  I skipped lunch most days but if I didn’t, would often binge on more bread and butter and tea was often a microwave ready meal.  (I had one that had been sat in the freezer for ages the other day and could not believe how disgusting and lacking in flavour it was.  Nothing on a home-made meal for sure!)  My evenings were alcohol fueled.  Mainly vodka and orange (clearly at this point in my uni life I still had money!)  I’ve looked for pictures of me eating from this time, but the only pictures I can find are of me drinking on nights out.  I didn’t exercise at all and I barely even walked anywhere, which is something I’ve always loved to do.  The halls of residence were right next to the uni itself, which had a shop of its own.  I put on a lot of weight during my first year at uni and wouldn’t class myself as very healthy at all.

Uni photo first year

{YEAR 2+3:}

At the start of my second year I moved out of Uni halls and into a houseshare with four guys.  The majority of my friends were guys, who ordered lots of takeaways and barely ‘cooked’.  Having a shared kitchen was always difficult as you were always in the way of someone and there was never enough time to prepare anything in there.  I don’t think I often had breakfast at all during this time.  If I had lunch it was a bite to eat whilst at the union between lectures – toasties or paninis.   If I planned on going out I skipped tea but if it was a night in it would most likely be chips from the chippy, a pizza, or a bowl of peas and carrots with mayonnaise.  Hardly the most healthy dishes in the world!  My weekly food shop, which usually came to about £10-£15, consisted of mainly 100 calorie or less individually wrapped items as weight loss was my top priority at this time, not (like it should be) healthy living.  We often headed out as a house for meals at Wetherspoons at the weekends and whenever we ate out I would always order healthy dishes – salads, wraps, fruit, etc.

Third year at uni

I still drank heavily about 4 nights a week, although by this point I had moved onto pints of cider as my choice tipple and cheesy chips smothered in ketchup and mayonnaise were my after a night out essential.

Cheesy chips covered in ketchup and mayonnaiseThe uni was a 20 minute walk from our house, as were the town and supermarkets, so I walked a minimum of 40 minutes every day and often for an hour and half or more.  I occasionally went to the gym, but hated being stuck inside and much preferred to head out and walk new places.  I am and always have been a get-on-the-dancefloor type of girl though and love spending the night dancing.  I also joined the University riding club and was spending a couple of hours each week out on the equestrian cross-country course practicing my jumping technique and ‘scary’ fences like benches and drops.  It was a lot of fun.  Despite not eating very healthily, I did lose a lot of weight during my second and third years at uni.

Second year at uni

{YEAR 4+5:}

Not technically uni years, but I was still living in my uni town as Dan had another year of his course to go.  By this point I had discovered blueberry porridge packets and had one every day for breakfast.  My lunch was normally a cheese salad roll or similar and tea would be either eaten at Dan’s (throw in the oven wedges and pizza/burger), out (usually a salad) or a shared healthy meal with my housemates.  Finally, I was eating three real meals a day!  I was at my smallest adult weight here, weighing just over 10 stone.  I felt that I was fairly healthy at the time.  By November of year 4 I was working as a manager at Frankie & Benny’s, and this meant blueberry porridge in the morning, followed by a Frankies dish mid afternoon.  I often threw together my own mixed salads whilst at the restaurant, topped with marinara sauce and a slice of the staff pizza for a late night dinner whilst working on the closedown.  The restaurant was a 40 minute walk from my house, so I easily walked at least 90 minutes a day, as well as the majority of my 12+ hour shifts spent on my feet at Frankies six days of the week.

Frankie & Benny's: A day at the racesI got into some ab work, completing several hundred crunches several days of the week and continued dancing on my nights off, although I was consuming much less alcohol by this point.  I also went on a little jog (literally only 15 minutes a time!) on each day off and I loved the way it made me feel afterwards.  This was the very beginning of my healthy living lifestyle.


So, there is my little What I ate at uni edition post!  I wish I had learnt about healthy living much sooner on and about how much better it could make my body feel.  To my knowledge there was no real information freely available to us at university, when the majority of students were in a similar situation – moving out of home and fending for themselves for the first time.  I absolutely adored my uni years and the friends I made and shared the good times with, but I am also very happy to have matured and gotten to where I am today.

When you first moved out of home, did you manage to live healthily?
If you went to uni, did you find information about healthy living freely available?

Think before you speak

I did have another post lined up for tonight but something happened at school today (not for the first time) that made me angry and extremely frustrated and I had to vent about it online.
Our school was having a bake sale today and the kids in Year seven (all eight of them!) had put on a magnificent spread in the cookery room. When the bell rang for break possibly every kid in the school was queuing down the corridor to get at the cakes!


I usually bake something to take along to the sale but didn’t have a chance after running club last night so toddled along with my purse instead. As I arrived and grabbed a teacher I needed to see, the head loudly said “Miss Moore can’t have any cakes, she’ll mess up her training!” I rather curtly told him I didn’t want any anyway and headed off upstairs to sit in my classroom until the end of break.
I had clearly wanted to buy one as I arrived with purse in hand, but the way in which he had said it to me indicated that I shouldn’t be buying any and resulted in me going back up to sit in my classroom. Yesterday he had jokingly stopped me from going to the staff room when he had brought in chips for all the staff, saying it ‘wasn’t part of my training regime’. I therefore told him I didn’t like chips.
This isn’t isolated to recent events either. Back on the last working day before Christmas when the trustees and governors had come in to school to wish us a Merry Christmas, all staff members sat around the large table in the cookery room which had been filled with Christmas goodies. He purposefully moved all trays away from where I sat commenting that if I ate anything I would become too large to fit into my wedding dress in the Summer. No effort was made to put back the trays of food and I felt like I couldn’t then eat any of the food on the table as I would have to get up and walk around the table in order to reach the trays.
I haven’t always had the best relationship with food in the past but I’ve never had an eating disorder. His comments over the past few months have made me feel as though I must eat away from others when at work. If he had spoken in this way to somebody recovering from an eating disorder, he would have destroyed them.
I don’t think he makes the comments with the intention of doing damage and he’s lucky I have a pretty tough skin.
At my last school a girl in my form was hospitalised twice with anorexia. As her form tutor I met with staff from the hospital several times to help plan her reintegration to school again. At one session I was given a list of words and phrases to avoid which I shared with teaching staff as words which might trigger her anorexic behaviour again. Such phases as “You’re looking well” and “That’s normal”. It was awful seeing her starve herself and lose several stone from what was a tiny frame in the first place. One of the sixth form teachers told her how well she was looking as a passing comment and she didn’t eat for four days. My brother also had what I would class as anorexic tendencies when he was at college going from an overweight teenager to a bobble head within months, skipping meals and obsessively counting calories on the back of comments made to him by others.
What you say to someone can often affect them more than you know, so please think twice before coming out with words that could potentially hurt somebody else and think hard about how that person would feel. My headteacher has only known me a matter of months and has no idea if I have had food disorders in my past, had this been the case his comments could have ended up much more damaging than a blog rant on Valentine’s Day!

The importance of nutrition

I was clearly not in the most jolly frame of mind on Friday when I last posted.  And whenever there’s something up I always end up struggling with my eating and don’t feel very hungry.  People tend to go one way or the other don’t they?  They either overeat or ‘forget’ to eat.


When I had tried a short run on Thursday evening after returning from my parents I had felt much more discomfort than on my previous runs and from the very first running step, so after emailing Paul the physio he suggested I book in for an MRI scan, which required lots of ringing round and organising and stressing!  Resulting in me not eating properly on Friday, and not getting to bed very early either.  Yesterday I hung around for ages in the morning before heading down to the gym around midday to get in the 5x5min hill reps with 2min recovery on my plan which translated into 5x5min hard sessions on the cross-trainer with 2min recovery sessions between each rep.  I had promised Dan I would grab some food before leaving as even though I had been up for five hours I hadn’t fancied anything up until then.  Purely because I promised I would I grabbed a MaxiFuel Viperboost bar.  (Love these bars!)  So here is a pic as evidence that I ate!  (When I showed Dan later in the day he told me it was the second worst picture he had ever seen of me!  Clearly he hadn’t yet seen the picture of my big hair further in the post!)

It was quite similar to the workout I completed on Tuesday but from the very first set I felt like I had limited energy and although I knew I would be able to continue the workout I also knew it would be at a much less effort than I was capable of.  By the end of the workout I was fully covered in sweat and I had travelled about 0.7km less on the machine than when I completed the workout on Tuesday.  That’ll teach me not to skimp on my nutrition just because I’m in a bad mood!  I vowed not to forget about food again!

The gym I’ve been using this week is currently being revamped, and right next to the cross-trainer I used on Tuesday they have since installed two Power Plates.  There is a big chart behind them showing lots of different moves you can complete on them and the benefits of using the Plate, but I still watched with hawk eyes anytime anybody approached them with the aim of picking up tips.  Not many people did though, despite paying lots of interest to them.  I guess they were hoping to do what I was doing as well!


THIS is how big my hair gets if I bung it up in a ponytail for training without doing anything to it first.  MASSIVE!

wpid-IMAG1144.jpgDan had had some birthday money last week which he wanted to buy some new clothes with this week, so after a quick shower we headed out in the car through the rain to Cambridge for a mosey.  I didn’t NEED anything as such, although did pick up some new school shoes from New Look which will be handy in a fortnight’s time.  I also had a hunt out for an aqua jogging belt but with no luck.  I wonder how many shop owners went home last night and googled what an aqua jogging belt is because they gave me some pretty confused looks!

On the way back to the car we passed a jewellers and I suggested to Dan that we stop in to see what size ring he would need for when we purchase our wedding rings later in the year.  He is an R.  I am an O.  We both tried on several.  With the shape of my engagement ring we both felt that I should have a wishbone ring to fit around my engagement ring and this one was the favourite for both of us.


Should have taken a picture of the two rings together!  We both also agreed that Dan looked best with a 5mm gold ring.  Again, should have taken a picture!


I booked the hairdresser for our wedding the other day and our Save the Date cards have arrived which we designed ourselves so we now need to finalise just who we would like to come to join us on the day!


Judging others

My Sunday mornings used to be full of long runs – week in, week out.  But then Dan joined a local football team in Peterborough which meant he was away for 2-3 hours on a Sunday afternoon – the perfect time to fit in my long run and still get a lay in in the mornings.

I say get a lay in.  I’m rubbish at sleeping in late.  Yesterday I got up and transferred myself to the couch with laptop at 5:30am!

Dan’s still away until tonight so I set myself a big to-do-list [I LIVE by to-do-lists!] to work through over the two days he would be gone but planned on taking it pretty easy on Sunday morning, which I definitely achieved!

I nipped to Tesco for a quick shop after lunch as I had a stockpile of vouchers.  The best thing about Tesco vouchers is they are based on what products you’ve bought in store before so tend to be items you would buy anyway.  :)


As I was queueing up to pay for my shopping I had the same thought I often have when doing my monthly shop.  ‘I wonder if people are judging me by what is in my trolley?‘  I know when I was a teenager, working as a supermarket checkout supervisor I used to automatically  judge people on what they bought at the store.

This is not really fair and often not a true representation of what that person eats at home.  For example, my Mum NEVER buys fruit or vegetables – because she has a large vegetable garden where she grows all of her own fresh produce at home.

However, this didn’t stop me from feeling like I had to justify everything I bought.  There was quite a lot of rubbish!  6 boxes of cereal, a bag of museli, four cartons of pop tarts (We like our cereal!)  Three multibags of crisps and two packs of Squares bars – Dan will pick at crisps or bars if I’m late home from work or a run.  Eight large chocolate slabs – to keep in the cupboard for baking.  Two bags of chips – I’m not a big fan of chips, would never cook them myself, but if Dan is home alone he will often have something ‘with chips’.  More than half of my shopping was either food I wouldn’t normally eat or food we only eat in moderation.  I promise there were some healthier items in there too…a bag of apples, some bagels, etc!

I had a similar thought on Saturday morning whilst completing my hill reps.  I was running hard for six minutes at a time up and down the hill before completing a recovery jog of two minutes through town and then repeating the whole process.  My legs were barely moving faster than a walk for my recovery and I was very conscious of just how slowly it must appear to others that I was moving.  I put my head down and crossed my fingers that nobody saw my shuffle-recovery blocks!

IMG_8076Yesterday had a two-hour long run on the plan which I ended up leaving until 7pm after a slight freezer-panic late afternoon.  (Door hasn’t been sealing properly on the freezer so ice has been building up over the past month and when I defrosted it after shopping it actually took me two and a half hours, and then for a very long while didn’t turn back on again.  :S  )  I knew we would need a new one at some point, but I think that point is over the next few weeks now.  :(

You can see in the photo the towel on the floor to mop up excess water (this was towel #3) and big washing up bowl filled with ice/melting ice!  I can now add ‘defrosting the freezer’ to my list of housework jobs I hate.  There it joins hoovering and mowing the lawn!

I felt great on my run and my pacing felt good – I kept the pace constant throughout whilst listening to Marathon Talk on my iPod.  This has been fantastic on my long runs recently!  I started feeling a bit weak about 90 minutes into my run, but still completed it, although in a slightly longer time than planned – in about 2hr 15min.  When I returned home I wasn’t hungry at all but knew I needed to eat so grabbed a glass of milk and snacked on a bread roll with some potato and leek soup which I stirred some cheese into for some extra protein.  I turned the taps on to start washing up but suddenly felt very ill.  My head was very wobbily and my stomach hurt so I lay down on the sofa for a few minutes.  I tried again to wash up and managed to get through a few plates before starting to feel bad again so at that point gave up and went to bed.

I haven’t had any problems with my training (touch wood) so I put it down to lack of sleep and fully intend on trying harder to lie in this next fortnight whilst Dan is off work.  I’m not very good at lying in so please wish me luck!  It would be rubbish if my training failed because I didn’t get enough sleep!