Wednesday, 4 September 2019

What You Should Know Starting Uni

Starting university is a daunting prospect, especially if you haven't ever really lived from home. It is stepping into the unknown, being thrown into a flat with people you most likely do not know and into a routine that is unfamiliar to you. But everyone is in the same boat as you. Freshers week is the perfect chance to mingle and make new friends, especially if you are a fan of going out. Take part in the themed nights out, no doubt you will make fast friends (which always happens when you are drunk, whether you remember them or not the next day is another story). However if you are more like me and not the biggest fan of going out to clubs then do not worry, you can still enjoy your university experience. You do not have to drink to enjoy uni.Take the time finding people who enjoy what you enjoy, go to serendipity, join a society, talk to people on your course. Eventually you will find your 'click'. And if you already know people at your university, great! you will become even closer as you all go through the whirlwind if university together.

There is a big culture behind university, mostly partying and drinking.

With studying and your workload be prepared to be left to your own devices, here it is much more important to be reliant on yourself and  to actually be dedicated to your own work. No teacher is going to be chasing after you if you do not do the work so making sure you can step up and be more mature about the whole process is important. If you do not complete the essay you were given chances are your overall grade at the end of the year will not be quite what you wanted. Invest in a planner, a pin board where you can jot down all of your deadlines to keep on top of everything. The best thing I learnt in first year? Do not leave it till last minute, the stress really is not worth it.

As for living on your own, that for me was the scariest part. I would have liked to have thought that before uni I was quite self sufficient but boy was I wrong when I got to uni. Simple tasks like washing the dishes, doing the washing and cleaning became a lot of effort but something that unfortunately needed doing. I somehow actually learnt to cook (kind of) in first year. Bearing in mind my 'cooking' is mostly throwing whatever I have in the cupboard and fridge into a pan, cooking it and then calling it a meal, but it worked I guess. Looking for cheaper finds to what you may have been used to at home will help your student loan go that little bit further, for example buying supermarkets own brand beans instead of Heinz (they taste the same anyway)

Before you know it first year will be over and you will be starting second year (like me) and you will soon realise that the first time around you were lucky with your workload, as trust me it gets heavier. First year may have felt like a breeze but second time around it all counts, so make the most of it.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Marrakech | 2019

I was quite apprehensive upon visiting Marrakech simply because I had never been to a country with the same culture. It is very contrasting to your typical westernised city. Though some parts are more westernised than others Marrakech still maintains many of their beautiful traditions. One of those traditions being Riad's. These are traditional houses situated on the streets of the city that circle a central courtyard that may often house a pool or meeting area. Me and my friends chose to stay in one for our week there to experience the full Marrakech culture. The one we stayed at was the Riad Amira which was rather central within the city and not a far cry to all the things worth your visit in Morocco.

One thing that enticed me about Morocco was the stunning architecture, this was evident when we took a visit to the Bahia palace and I would highly recommend visiting here if you are off to Marrakech. It is made up of gorgeous 19th century Moroccan architecture filled with culture and is found in the south part of the Medina.

For getting around to the different areas in the city we opted for a two day bus pass that could get us to a range of different areas both within and outside the Medina. I would highly recommend doing this is you want to experience both sides to the city, both inside the tradition Medina walls where you can find the traditional souks markets and in contrast outside the walls where the cities westernised malls and roads are located.

If you are into your instagram worthy spots then along with the Bahia Palace, the Jardin Majorelle will be right up your street. It houses some beautiful architecture displayed in the intense blue walls and contrasting yellows along with a wild array of exotic plant life. Whilst there you can also visit the Berber Museum or pay a trip to the Yves Saint Laurent Memorial.

Probably my favourite part of the trip was a day out to the Ouzoud Waterfalls. We had an amazing guide with us on this day and he made the experience even more special. It was about a two hour drive to get to the mountains and once we arrived it was a quite a hefty walk to get to the actual waterfall. However the guide made the time fly by talking about the Marrakech lifestyle and also along the way we stopped off to get to hold a monkey, yes a wild monkey (because apparently our tour guide was Aladdin) Once we got to the Ouzoud falls we payed a small price to get on a boat that would take you right under the water and you had the option to jump in, but rest assured you still get soaked even if you don not take the plunge. We were then treated to a traditional three course meal followed by the delicious Moroccan mint tea before the walk back to the coach. If I had to recommend doing anything whist on your trip to Morocco it would be to visit here and I hope you get the same guide as me as he really made the trip special.

The Souks are an experience to be had. An attack on the senses many people called it, which I can second. A square full to the brim with traditional markets and food stalls can make one feel overwhelmed and leaves you not knowing where to look. Before you visit here be sure to be ready to haggle your prices and have an idea of what you are looking to buy or you may well be trapped there for hours on end. The locals may be persistent upon getting you to want t buy but simple no thank you's or wearing sunglasses to avoid eye contact if you would rather not be approached will help you out. None the less there are some beautiful items to be found for bargin prices here and the experience is one you will never forget.

All in all my visit to Morocco is one I shall never forget. I have fallen in love with this country and city itself. The traditional culture is one that is truly beautiful, one that should be respected. The traditional cuisine is something I still miss and can never replicate as good myself. Moroccan culture is something I think everyone deserves to experience because it will leave you wanting to go back for more.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Exercise and Eating Disorders

Should you exercise with an eating disorder? a common question that many people going through recovery may ask. The answer may be totally dependent on the person recovering. When you first start recovering it is initially very tough to start gaining those vital kilograms to make your body healthy again and hindering that with exercise may not be what is best for you. In the aspect of putting on weight when you first start recovering I do not think exercise is the best idea. When you first start recovery you may still be in the obsessive mind set of looking a certain way, and if you are excising whilst still in that mindset then you may become obsessive over exercising and that may do more damage than good. Once your body has been through  starvation or malnutrition it needs time to rest and repair and that may mean no exercise but that will be ultimately what your body needs.

Once you get in a good place mentally with your relationship with your body and your food, then exercise may be something that will further assist you in your recovery. For me exercise aids me in wanting to fuel my body because I want to strive to be stronger and you cannot do that with a starving body. Food is fuel. Exercising has made me love my body again, aspiring to have strong muscles and curves, not bones. I use exercise as my outlet from the outside world. But it is also important to know when your body needs rest, it cannot work out 24/7 and so I make sure to take rest days when my body needs it in order to recover. Do not use exercise as a punishment for having an extra slice of pizza.

After being in a toxic relationship with your body and food, starting off with light exercises will be what is better for you mentally and physically. I started off with some stretches and yoga to ease my body into it and to help slowly build up my fragile metabolism, however this was still after I had been recovered for 1 and a bit years. I then moved onto some more intense pilates which I did at home using Youtube videos. It actually was not until I had been recovered for three/four years did I step into a gym, I did it with the aspiration of gaining muscle and that is when I begun fuelling my body fully the right way without worrying about the calories I was consuming. So be patient with your body and mind.

Before you start exercising again make sure that is is for the right reasons and not because you want to punish your body and lose yet more weight. Exercise is important but your recovery is more vital.

Monday, 24 June 2019

How to Deal With Body Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia is a lot more common than you think, most people tend to associate them with eating disorders and though there is a strong correlation between the two, anyone can suffer from this condition.

Previously I have spoken about the reality of an eating disorder and my struggles, I touched upon my struggles with body dysmorphia. From a very young age my ideal views of what I 'should' look like were drilled into my brain with media images of perfectly airbrushed bodies being slammed into my face. The impact of those images on young girls can be detrimental and it is this that spiralled my eating disorder and dysmorphia.

Body dysmorphia is seeing a figure in the mirror you deem as severely flawed. Your mind basically portrays flaws that will be unnoticeable to those around you. For me I saw myself as 'fat' when in reality I was in the grasps of anorexia sitting at around less than 6 stone. Body dysmorphia makes you see fat when in reality there is bone. It will make you obsess over cellulite or stretch marks when they in fact are normal and beautiful. The persons image of themselves becomes distorted and they obsess over trying to conceal those flaws. The painful thing for sufferers of body dysmorphia is that it does not easily go away. It is embedded in your mind and retraining yourself to think that your body is beautiful and you are good enough is something that is incredibly hard to do. Instead of picking out your flaws, pick out what you like about yourself. For me I like my eyes, my strong legs and my freckles, it may be random but it helps you to concentrate on the positives you see in yourself and not putting yours down.

Though yes, today I am weight restored from my eating disorder, I do still struggle with body dysmorphia. It has become an on going battle that I do not intend on giving into. I therefore prove that body dysmorphia does not have to only affect someone who is overweight or underweight, it can affect anyone and those people suffering with it should seek help. I struggled at 6 stone and I still struggle at 9 stone, there is no grey area with this mental illness. Just because you are recovered from whatever eating disorder you may have had it does not mean you are fully ok. Body dysmorphia may linger and it is ok to seek further help for it, whether it is speaking to a therapist to help retrain your thoughts or simply just speak to a friend. Everybody is beautiful no matter the size or marks or battles is has been through. It is worthy of your love.