Tinder and Blind

A once single Tinder obsessed bad dater London girl living in Dubai, to a step-mum who bagged a boy in Dubai, now living in London

Category: Health

The Grand Finale

One of my new year’s resolutions for 2017 was to learn to say no to things without feeling guilty for doing so. This has meant I’ve successfully declined many ladies nights, brunches, nights out and even birthdays since 1st January. I used to feel so guilty for turning down events, so I’d end up attending everything I was invited to and thus burn myself out to the point of collapse (many times). After ending up in hospital at the end of last year with doctors orders to rest once I’d told her my typical weekly routine, I decided to listen.

This year after vowing to learn to say no, and sticking to it, has meant my quality of life is so much better already. I’ve lost over a stone from the lack of drinking or eating crap (as a result of all the drinking), I’ve been sleeping for at least 8 hours a night and working out six times a week without feeling lethargic.

The main reason for the health kick was after I agreed to take up an 8 week challenge with my gym- F45, and if you’ve been following my weekly posts then you’ll know all about it. (Sorry to those who are missing my unlucky date escapades, I’m not).

Before this challenge I was doing the same amount of exercise thinking if I worked-out then it would balance out all the partying and odd (frequent) glasses (bottles) of wine with dinner, along with the brunches that I was smashing through each weekend intent on maximising buffet ROI. It was my first year into Dubai life, a continuation of the busy London life I lead, and I was just about managing it. Letting myself be the ‘fun one’ and loving life as per, and it’s fair to say if I didn’t exercise then I’d have probably been much bigger than I was. But I’d had enough.

This challenge has ensured I’ve maintained a positive mind-set. Every week I would see muscle definition, my clothes getting bigger, and it sounds so cliché but my head felt clearer. I was more productive at work, giving presentations and pitches to clients with more confidence and clarity than ever. As a result I’d billed the most business in the shortest period of time.

The final two weeks of the challenge I’d say were the hardest, not just because every time I saw my friends they’d be eating pizza or Five Guys while I had a tupperwear box of air, but mainly because the carb portions have been next to nothing in order to burn fat instead of glucose (carbs) as energy like a normal person. But it’s the point I’ve seen the biggest difference aesthetically.

I still have a little way to go before I’m entirely happy with my body, and I won’t lie, I’m really nervous about going it alone with no challenge to complete- but I am now determined not to go back to my old lifestyle.

As glamourous as it sounds, going out to all these luxurious 5* Dubai hotels for happy hours, dinners and brunches all the time, quite frankly, makes you fat. Caveat: Now I’m not about to turn into a preaching new clean eating health guru- because everyone knows I’m a party girl at heart and I believe a drink is called for to reach full fun potential in a bar/club scene – judge all you want, but we all know how shit it feels to be the only sober person at a party while your mates are having the time of their lives singing along to the Pina Colada song. I’m not the sober girl. I’m the one who instigates a messy night out, the one who suggests shots, the last one standing while everyone else went home to get pizza and into their pj’s two hours prior. And I’m still that person at heart.. hell I spent last weekend on a diet of champagne and chocolate to celebrate my body fat death, but now I’m that person much less frequently than twice a week.

The last two months has reinstated to me that my lifestyle wasn’t about balance before, when I thought it was. I was doing 50/50, that changes now to 80/20. 80% of the time being the health freak who trains 6 times a week while snacking on six cashews and almond milk protein shakes, and 20% of the time being the old, prosecco fuelled, fatter me.

My results saw me lose 7.5kg, 10cm off my waist, 6% body fat loss and two boob sizes which isn’t ideal but you can’t have everything. I went off plan completely for two days while I had visitors out, and completed 47 out of 48 possible workouts with one active recovery day per week doing aerial yoga. I drank on three occasions (awards dinner, hen party, one brunch) while sticking to the meal plan the rest of the time.


The most important thing I learnt from doing this challenge was to prep. Every. Single. Meal. That includes snacks, literally everything you put into your mouth, portion out and when you think one portion looks adequate, it means it’s too much. Halve it.

I have had a lot of people message me asking for advice, but frankly I’m not an expert, I’m just someone who got sick of making excuses for herself and did something about it. If you don’t want it bad enough, you won’t succeed, no matter what advice you’re given. I have always been the sort of person to work hard if I want something badly enough, be it that pair of shoes, or that apartment, or that job, it might take me a year to realise how much I want it, but once it’s in my head I bloody well work for it. There’s no such thing as luck in my eyes. The same applies when changing your habits, you’ve got to be dedicated, and yes it’ll take over your life for a bit, but what’s a few weeks of abstaining when you come out the other side with abs?


Me celebrating at the weekend, post challenge

Week 7 of the F45 Challenge

19th-25th March

No carbs takes a while to get used to. The first two days of training were tough, especially the cardio workouts, I struggled to push myself due to lack of energy. My trainer told me to have a coffee before the next workout- which I thought was banned throughout the challenge, apparently not, it was only banned for the detox phase of the challenge! So this week I’ll ensure I have an espresso before my workouts to give me an extra boost.

The weekend saw me buying in M&Ms and mixed nuts..for my friends- before you judge. I hosted movie night at my apartment so I stocked up on things I couldn’t eat in order to make my friends happy. They ordered pizza’s while I heated up my chicken, pumpkin and kale dinner. I had a few nuts which meant I skipped the following day’s snack of cottage cheese & celery, because I probably got my fats worth out of those nuts.

I did however lose more weight, in total now I’ve lost 6.1kg, or 13 pounds. I’m 1lb off a stone and so happy.

I started day one of week 8- the final week, today, and typically my meals are coconut yoghurt with blueberries and almonds for breakfast, an almond milk protein shake and smoked salmon with cream cheese as snacks, with minced stuffed aubergine for lunch and lamb skewers for dinner (which I’m substituting for beef).

I have a wedding on Friday which means I’ll be finishing the challenge a day early, there’s no way I can forgo wedding food and drink for the sake of a day, so I’m going to train twice a day twice this week in order to balance out Friday for the weigh in and body scan.

I shall update this time next week with my results. One thing I’ve learnt in this seven weeks is that food prep is the absolute key to losing weight. Forget the exercise, I was working out six days a week long before this challenge, but this has educated me on what I need to put into my body to burn fat and most importantly, satisfy my hunger and realise HOW important portion control is. One more week to go!





Week 6 of the F45 Challenge

13th-18th March

I started my week on Monday instead of Sunday as said in my previous post, so I’ve done six days as opposed to seven so that I have a head start on my fat burning phase for this last two weeks.

The hardest part of my week was sitting in Five Guys with four of my friends, while they feasted on cheeseburgers and cajun spiced fries I had my tupperwear of Snapper and asparagus tucked in my bag. That was a low point of my life. Krispy Kreme next door was giving away free donuts, so they all grabbed one of those for dessert, but I abstained, for a change.

I started seeing results when I woke up on Saturday, the scales showed I was even lighter and the mirror showed muscles I hadn’t noticed before. I went to the mall to change something, and ended up taking butt selfies because I couldn’t believe how much of a toned glute(s) I’d built!

So now is the final phase of the challenge, it’s come around so quickly and it just shows that time passes anyway; make the right choices for a few weeks and you’ll reap the rewards.

This phase concentrates on Keto which is a high fat and low carb diet. This morning’s breakfast was 100g of ham (which I had to run to the supermarket for when I got out of bed  because I had forgotten to get it yesterday), with two eggs and spinach, cooked in butter. Hell yes to high fat.

Snacks today are an almond protein shake and veg sticks with cheese. That’s right- cheddar cheese. I’m intolerant to cows milk so the real test will be if I last during my training tonight, or keep running to the loo. Soz.

Lunch is meant to be lamb with chopped cauliflower, tomato, parsley and shallots with olive oil, lemon and garlic. But I don’t like lamb so I’ve substituted it with beef instead. Dinner is salmon with bok choy and soy sauce. Not too shabby.

I’ve also noticed a rise of men sliding into my DM’s (direct messages) on social media. It’s actually hilarious. It is sad really that aesthetics make such a difference, but I guess that’s society these days. We just need to stay true to our personalities and not turn into an egotistical preacher once we’re actually happy within ourselves. I am happy to see my body changing, not just because I wasn’t happy with putting on the Dubai Stone, but because it’s proved that if I put my mind to it, I can actually work at something without failing. I’ve seen many ‘weight loss transformations’ who have changed people for the worse, because they’re suddenly getting attention and know they look good, they become arrogant and intimidating. When really a few months ago they’d have favoured a film and a pizza over the gym and a protein shake and now they’re turning their nose up to anyone who chooses fries instead of salad at Nandos.  Balance is key, and once I’m done with this challenge I will maintain it, but I’ll not say no to a Five Guys and a donut.

Week 4 of the F45 Challenge

I slipped this last week. I went for a spa evening after work last Sunday, turns out the package included a chocolate brownie, post-massage. When the lady brought out two plates of the amazing chocolatey squareyness, my friend said my face dropped like a child’s who knew they weren’t allowed something.

It was 8.30pm and I hadn’t eaten since 3.30pm, so I caved. I ate the whole god damn thing and I savoured every bite. It was bliss. Having gone 21 days with zero sugar and sticking to the plan 100%, I didn’t feel guilty. I did however, skip my dinner of chicken with brown rice in order to justify my slip up and calorie intake.

I got straight back on the wagon the following day and stayed on it..till Friday, the much anticipated hen do. I ate a bit of salmon and a bit of beef then..a shit load of dessert. I had a crepe with Nutella and strawberries, topped with ice cream and chocolate. Then I had another crepe about two hours later, with a side of brownie. I had two shots of cafe patron and one gin with soda, and a pineapple vodka thing. So alcohol wise, not too bad for the duration of 11 hours, but I fully committed carbicide on the dessert front, and didn’t regret a second of it..until the next day. My stomach was in pieces and I had a migraine the entire day, staying in bed with a blindfold on for about six hours. It’s true, sugar is the devil, but it tastes so damn good. They say you taste everything more intensely and sweeter when you have sugar after a long time; I didn’t notice, I did notice however that life was amazing for the five minutes of dessert consumption. It was glorious.

The next day I got back on the plan and have worked out every day since. I’m at an event all week, hence my delay in posting my weeks progress, but so far I’ve been bringing my tupperwear and protein shakes with me to the event, and avoiding all the free buffet food. Tomorrow I have an awards dinner so I’ll skip my morning and afternoon snacks in order to make room for a calorific evening. I then have friends over for the weekend, so I’ll have to balance out my weekend by being an absolute saint for the three weeks that follow to the end of the challenge.

I’ve lost over a dress size, all my clothes are baggy and I got a lot of compliments over the weekend saying I looked great, which is always nice to hear. Even if it did make me realise what a heffer I was turning into before!

Three and a half weeks to go people and I’m determined to look an absolute babe by 1st April. Even if I do dream of dessert every. single. day.




Week Three of the F45 Challenge

19th-25th February

Three weeks down and I’ve lost 5kg, which is 11lbs! I fit into clothes I haven’t been able to wear for 18 months and I can see the beginnings of my abs. I still haven’t deviated from the plan and I’m really enjoying it. Even if I’m spending my weekend nights binge watching Friends instead of binge eating with my friends, oh and spending hours in the supermarket looking for rice malt syrup. Yeah I’d never heard of it either.

The food last week consisted of red meat, which I never cook or buy usually (because I watched Cowspiracy and almost turned vegan, for about 30 seconds), fish like tuna & salmon, and still no sugar. There was a lot of protein,  having eggs every day still hasn’t bugged my stomach so I’m thinking my intolerance may now be tolerant?!


A typical day on week 3: Breakfast: eggs and kale. Snack: celery with blackbean dip Lunch: tuna with lentils, red pepper & red onion. Afternoon snack: tinned salmon with cucumber. Dinner: Courgette, beef, rocket, pinenuts & balsamic dressing

I went to F45 for five days then did swing yoga and went for a run for the remaining two days. Today I’m taking a total rest and meeting a friend at a Nordic spa after work for two hours of treatments and relaxation.

I think it’s important to take one day every couple of weeks to abstain from any kind of exercise if you’re doing it every day. I’ve found this plan so addictive I feel really guilty if I have a day off from working out, and thus I end up going for a run to satiate my guilt, but actually I realise I need a day off totally because it’s not healthy to become so obsessive about it.


Thursday run after work

Week 3-6 (totalling 4 weeks) is the longest phase of the challenge and the next two weeks are going to be tough because I have a lot of events coming up, starting with a hen-do on Friday which will be the first time alcohol passes my lips in over a month, and there will be a lot of food. I’m going to be as careful as I can without being noticeably boring, hens=games=shots, so I might need my stomach pumped.

I’ll prep my food for Saturday in order to get straight back on the wagon rather than order a double pepperoni pizza to soak up the tequila. Here’s to another healthy week (till Friday!!).

Week Two of the F45 Challenge

I cannot believe I’ve gone two weeks without chocolate and alcohol. I genuinely haven’t gone without chocolate for longer than two days since I was about 2 years old. I haven’t gone this long without alcohol since I was actually illegal to drink. Which when I think about it, is really bad.

Week two is over and I can honestly say I’m proud of myself for not being tempted. I went to a boat party for a 30th birthday where alcohol was provided FREE, and instead of sneaking a glass, I took my almond protein shake on board and poured that into a glass instead, disguised as Baileys- same colour FYI. I resisted the Doritos and Lays crisps which my friends were nibbling at while I watched on in envy, I just kept thinking I’ve come this far, why ruin it now.

The second week was fine apart from one afternoon of hunger when I ate my food too early before meetings, then had a five hour gap from snack to dinner with a workout in between. I didn’t pass out, I just drank more water and enjoyed my dinner after the gym, before hitting my bed hard. I haven’t cheated on the plan at all, prepping for every single meal and sticking to my exercise 5-6x per week.


I’ve been sleeping solidly every night for 9 hours and apart from one day I’ve felt satisfied throughout. There was one day I felt a bit of an egg overload and was too full all day, probably doesn’t help that I’m intolerant to eggs, but I’m ignoring my intolerances (mainly cows milk, nuts and eggs) during this challenge to just see if I can make my body overcome it, so far it’s not been too bad. Luckily there’s no cows milk in this plan because I don’t just despise the taste, my gut absolutely hates it too.

Now I’ve done my cleanse and liver detox phase, and I’ve lost 8lbs on the scales, that’s 4kg or just over half a stone, it has also meant I now fit into jeans I haven’t fit into for 18 months, pretty bloody chuffed about that.

So now I’m on week three which is super high protein to get me lean. It’s reintroducing red meat which I haven’t touched for two weeks, and I’m to have a variation of eggs every day for breakfast.

So far so good.

Week One of the F45 Challenge

Week one: 5th-11th February


Firstly, this isn’t a dating related post, I’m sorry. My life now consists of working, gyming, showering, eating, cooking, prepping, and repeating. To be honest, I’m too focussed on my bikini body to think about men right now.

SO, what is this new lifestyle that has taken over my weekly routine? what is F45? Well, unless you live under a rock (or not in a major city) then you’ll know F45 is a fitness phenomenon which is loved by A-listers & models (and me) which started in Australia and now has a studio in several major cities worldwide. It consists of 6 days worth of HIIT functional training, mixing weights, body weight and cardio using basic equipment. The beauty of F45 is that no class is the same, which keeps your body guessing, prevents you from plateau and, dare I say, makes each 45 minute workout more enjoyable and time absolutely flies.

I usually do between 4-6 F45 classes per week and have done since I joined in December last year. However, even though my fitness has definitely improved, my shape (fat) has remained the same. This is down to my lifestyle; as they say- you can’t out train a bad diet. Even though a lot of the time I eat healthily, my weekends are blow outs which include excessive amounts of alcohol and subsequently, hangover food, with the rest of the time eating basically salmon, avocado and finding it hard to say ‘no’ to anything that rhymes with mocklate. The 8 week challenge opportunity came up at my studio and something switched in me, I’ve been living a kind of false sense of security that I’m some sort of health freak just because I put chia seeds in my smoothies. I’ve had my fun living in Dubai, brunching most weekends on thousands of calories, this challenge is what I need to do to get back to where I was when I lived in London. I was toned, fit and happy with my body at a small size 10, rather than a 10 who really should be a 12 but is too in denial to buy anything with a number 2 on the label.


My breakfast twice last week: a green juice with 2 boiled eggs & 3 tbsp avocado

So, how does it work and how will it change my body?

The challenge consists of three phases, with meal plans and recipes for each meal throughout the 8 weeks, provided. The first phase is called ‘Spring Training’ which lasts two weeks and claims to detoxify, alkalise and cleanse the body by cutting out sugar, dairy and red meat, allowing three main meals and two snacks per day totalling around 1300 calories a day (for a woman).

The second phase is ‘Regular Season’ which lasts four weeks and is the longest phase of the challenge. It promises to create lean muscle tone, reduce inflammation and boost immune function all while defining your physique. This is achieved with a high protein diet to promote muscle recovery and create healthy fat loss.

The final phase lasts two weeks and is called ‘World Series’. This one is hardcore as it’s the fat stripping stage which focuses on keto. For those who don’t know what ketogenesis is, it’s basically high fat and low to no carbs which means your body will utilise fat for energy, instead of carbs, thus burning fat and showing ABS (you get the jist).

So that’s the plan, and I have just successfully completed week one! By successfully I mean I have followed the meal plan exactly, drank 3 litres of water daily, been to a class six days a week and aerial yoga for the remaining day.. And so far I’ve lost 2.3kg which for one week, I’m pretty pleased about.

For week one, a typical day consisted of smoked salmon and egg whites with spinach and peppers for breakfast, celery with almond butter and crispy garlic broccoli as morning and afternoon snacks, then chicken with chickpeas and mixed veg for lunch, followed by quinoa, kale and chicken for dinner. Because I haven’t deviated from the plan at all, I’m determined to stay on track for this week and look forward to a further loss. Every time a chocolate opportunity has come up, I genuinely haven’t even been tempted. I’m not craving sugar, I’m not wishing I could stick my face in a cake, I just eat my pre prepped food (which is key by the way. I cook A LOT now) when I’m hungry, and it’s been easy- so far.


A typical day on week 1

I’ll post weekly updates to keep myself accountable. Although I do have several events which clash with this plan, starting at week 5: a hen party, an awards dinner, friends visiting for 4 days, and a wedding. These will of course affect my results, but if I stick to every other day to the letter, I should be ok to have a couple of cheat days. For the events which include food, I’m going to eat as similarly to my plan as possible and stick to gin with soda water when I can’t avoid alcohol. After not drinking for five weeks by that time, I don’t think I’ll be able to handle much alcohol anyway. She says.