Wow, another year has gone by: I can hardly believe it. That also means that it has been a whole year since I started this blog, Lou’s Lean Lifestyle!
Looking back on to 2015, I can honestly say it has been the best year yet and I currently feel the happiest I ever have done in my life. So much has happened, particularly in the last 3 months!
As many of you who follow me on social media will know, last year I went back to college to study for an A level in Biology (to accompany the other 4 A levels I got back in 2013). Studying for an entire A level in a year part-time whilst working at the same time was no mean feat and I am so so proud of myself for working hard to achieve an A. This landed me my dream position as a student at the University of Surrey to study Nutrition!
Starting Uni in September this year was an extremely scary prospect for me as I dropped out of uni in October of 2013 due to me hating my course (I went to Warwick to study Maths!), and I obviously didn’t want the same thing to happen again. This time though, I just knew that I had made the right decision even before I got to uni and I was right: my course and everything about uni life is just how I wanted it to be and so much more.
Firstly, I have met the most amazing people: I am so lucky that the 11 other flatmates I have been placed with have all turned out to be some of my best friends, many of whom are massive foodies/fitness fanatics, like myself! I am constantly meeting new people from all walks of life and finding myself surrounded by people who are on exactly the same wavelength as me, which is just great.
Secondly, my course is so so fascinating. Having only become interested in nutrition about a year and a half ago, I can hardly believe that I am now studying for a degree in this fascinating subject. To be studying at such an amazing University as Surrey makes me feel so lucky everyday. I am being taught by some of the most informed lecturers in their field, live in one of the nicest towns in England – in which I feel truly at home – and have access to the most incredible facilities, including Surrey Sports Park which is just out of this world! The gym is outstanding and there is also a 50m pool, climbing wall, loads of pitches/courts and there’s even a Starbucks so I can get my coffee fix, what more could a girl ask for?!
Last, but by certainly no means least, I joined the Uni of Surrey Boat club and started rowing; arguably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! The training is so intense: usually 6-7 days a week with a mixture of weights, a lot more cardio than I’m used to, and rowing on the Thames every weekend. I almost need to pinch myself with how lucky I feel to be involved in such an incredible sport (even though my legs hurt constantly!). All my teammates are amazing and have become my closest friends. It is also through this sport that I met my wonderful best friend, who is now my boyfriend; someone that I now could never imagine my life without.
Fitness & diet-wise, my weight massively fluctuated at the beginning of the year. With the stress of college exams and lack of time to train, I over-ate and undertrained and found it difficult to find a balance. The summer was a massive turning point for me as I had so much more time to get in the gym and was introduced to flexible dieting/IIFYM, which has helped me so much in finding a healthier balance with food, being a lot less restrictive and allowing me to understand the importance of precision of macronutrients in the diet for reaching your goals (a blog post for another day!). Since going to uni my strength and cardiovascular fitness has increased dramatically and body fat percentage decreased significantly, mainly due to all the extra training I now do for rowing (which is great because it means I get to eat loads more!).
In April of 2015 I also became a blogger for Cardiff Sports Nutrition, a health and food supplement store which I feel so privileged to be associated with. I get to try their amazing products and give some of the best brands an honest review for you guys, which I mainly do on my instagram. I even have a 10% discount code LOULEAN10 which you can use online www.cardiffsportsnutrition.co.uk.
Aside from uni and fitness related things, 2015 has also held some of the worst days of my life. In terms of personal life, one of my family members became seriously ill in August, and for a long while it looked like there was no hope, which was absolutely crushing. However, with the amazing help and support of family, friends and an incredible surgeon, this family member is now fully on the road to recovery and I could not be happier. Although incredibly scary, this has made my family and I closer than ever, and it is times like this that make you truly appreciative of life and the many opportunities it holds.
So, as you can see, I am so content with my life at the moment and am entering 2016 with so much positivity. I have lots to look forward to: my 21st birthday, the start of race season with rowing, the second semester of my degree, summer and so much more. The main thing I can ask for out of this next year is that it will continue in the way in which 2015 has ended.
I have written myself a few goals/resolutions for this year, which are in the back of my diary and also pinned on my noticeboard. They include some of the following:
- read more – this year I really want to broaden my mind and read as much non-fiction as possible, especially things that may be related to my degree (which shouldn’t be a problem because foooood!)
- spend less time on the internet/phone – I think we’re all a little guilty of this one. I really want to spend as little time as possible wasting away hours looking at pointless things on my laptop/mobile and use my time more productively!
- get more sleep – as a lot of you may know, I am a sucker for an early morning (especially to workout) but don’t tend to get to bed early enough and end up running off coffee all day – a few more early nights are needed in 2016!
- don’t worry so much about my body – like a lot of us, I can be extremely body-conscious, which I hate. Unfortunately, it is one of those things that in today’s society is difficult not to be. However, I know that I just need to relax and not care so much: having character and personality are what really counts in this life anyway.
- eat a little less chocolate – this is definitely going to be a difficult one as I am a massive chocoholic! And chocolate is good for the soul. And has some amazing health benefits. And tastes out of this world. Ok maybe this resolution wasn’t such a good idea..
- blog more – admittedly, I didn’t write nearly as many blog posts as I planned on in 2015: life and uni got in the way but I will definitely be posting a lot more in 2016: let me know what you guys want to see, whether it be recipes/fitness/health-related!
- sign up & do some charity runs/races – now that my cardiovascular fitness has increased I am so up for doing some 10ks, obstacle course, etc, especially if it is for a good cause! Any suggestions?
- go on holiday/travel abroad – a big one for me as I didn’t manage to go abroad anywhere in 2015 and have most definitely got the bug to go on some adventures in the coming year!
The final and most important goal for me is to BE HAPPY – something which is often forgotten beneath striving for success and perfection in life. Don’t forget, success isn’t a straight path and it is so important to love every step of the journey because otherwise, what’s the point right?
And finally, just to say a massive thank you to all of you who are following my blog/social media. I love sharing my progress with you all and hearing your feedback – never hesitate to get in touch!
What are some of your goals/resolutions? Whatever they are, I hope you all have a happy and healthy 2016; let’s smash it.