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Guy of Gisborne Taking off his Armour.

Originally posted on Middle England Earth Art:
My very first foray into digital painting back in May 2009. I scanned my pencil sketch and brought it up in Corel 3, and then used a Wacom tablet and stylus and about a thousand layers to paint it…About 35 or so, anyway. 😉 Armour is so much…

Cumberbatch to play Richard III or the case of my little green-eyed monster

Shakespeare's First Folio Edition To Be Sold

As I try to keep my grubby fingers on multiple fandom pulses, a while back I came across this interesting piece of news:

Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play Richard III in the second series of Shakespeare’s History for BBC2.

Ordinarily, one could skim over this little morsel if it wasn’t for the fact that playing the role of Little Richie Plantagenet, Yo! it’s York in the House,  has been a dream of Armitage for some time, a goal he has mentioned in countless interviews throughout the years and I am too lazy to link to a single one of them, so you are welcome.

It got me thinking about what it must be like to mold your career at a time when another British actor, especially one younger than you, seems to be thriving, even making it onto Time 100 Most Influential People list.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the direction in which Richard’s career is heading (seriously, chuffed as chips or rather Chops!) and I like the fact that being an Armitage Admirer Well-wisher still feels like a member of an exclusive club with a well-kept secret of exquisite taste in men, but when you’re vying for the same parts, heading to the same auditions as the likes of Cumberbatch or Hiddleston, when you stand back and watch their notoriety soar, does it smarm a bit?

To what extent do you compare yourself and your opportunities, casting options, accomplishments to others?

Although I would really dislike the notion that RA is pushing for a glitzy Hollywood career and therefore abandoning projects that made me fall for him in the first place, I can’t help but wonder if he ever questions why them and not him.

Some projects that we felt would be perfect for Richard but went to another actor are easier to swallow, like casting Aidan Turner in Poldark, with others having another actor portray Matthew Clairmont in A Discovery of Witches would be much harder to accept (seriously, have you read it? Matthew is perfect for Armitage), but having Cumberbatch play Richard III feels…personal…

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Don’t get me wrong, Cumberbatch is huge right now and it makes sense that if the producers would jump at the chance to cash in on that.

I have little doubt he will do a superb job and I will certainly be amongst the swarm of people who know that anything Ben is in is definitely worth checking out as the man does not disappoint.

Then there are those arguments that maybe RA is just a little long in the tooth to play the king who died at 32, that this particular ship may well have sailed.

But a part of me, the one that is blinded by the sense of my very own distorted need for justice, the fan who wants Armitage to make him dreams come true, is disappointed and my little naughty fangirling green-eyed monster is having a field day.

To ease my discomfort, here’s a brilliant manip from Fan-Art from KingRichardArmitage:

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An image of what could have been and, hopefully may still be, after all Frodo did take the ring to Mount Doom against all odds, right?

Oh, and just so you know- had you chosen me Queen of the World like I have requested repeatedly, not only would you have Fridays off from work, but I’d also give Armitage the right of dibs on every single Richard III project.

In other words, if you liked it then you should have put a crown on it…

Happy Labor Day and Werk it, Mr Armitage!

I’ve noticed it’s been a while since I posted RA related stuff, time for a quick fix, me thinks!

The gods of the friendly calendar have granted a nice long weekend to us humble hard-working Poles.

It is one of my favorite times of the year– the so-called May Holidays, a string of free days: Labor Day, Flag Day and Constitution Day, all attached to the weekend.

Today is May 1st- Labor Day, which ironically is actually a very much non-laboring day (unless you count those dozens of flowers I shall be planting to perk up the garden!

Talking about working, Richard has sure done his fair share judging by his imdb list of upcoming projects.

I haven’t really chimed in on what’s coming up, possibly because I don’t want to get too excited about The Crucible (well, not just yet, don’t want to burn myself out before July…), I can’t really get excited at all about Into the Storm, The Hobbit is a post-summer buzz, so too early for that and all of Richard’s audiobooks were already out by the time I became an Armitage raving loony well-wisher, so it was simply a matter of picking them up as I went along, therefore I don’t know how to get excited about a new one.

That leaves me with one RA project that I am chomping at the bits for and one that has peaked my interest.

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I haven’t actually read Urban Grimshaw and the Shred Crew yet, so I’m basing my judgments on what matters- sneaky pics that have been floating on the internet.

What?

They say you should never judge a book by its’ cover, they said nothing about judging it based on set pics of Richard Armitage!

And let me tell you, me likey what I see!

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During the Armitage droughts we often contemplate what our dream RA projects would be and let me tell you, this one ticks so many boxes, it almost seems like Richard read my mind (which I wouldn’t mind at all, you are welcome to…well…most of my thoughts…) it’s almost eerie.

Firstly, it’s a UK production and that tells me the chances are it’ll be of high quality.

I’ve also wished to see RA in a gritty part.

Sure, most characters he’s played have been dubious, but there was always an air of propriety, although often times it would be deceiving.

I wanted a Northern accent and dirty fingernails, something so far removed from other things he had done, something that would stand out from other RA characters.

This grimy, gritty feel extends to Chip’s physical appearance, but good luck if you think the man is not going to give you naughty dreams.

It’ll take more than unwashed outgrown Guy hair and a dodgy hat and clothes to discourage filthy thought!

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Nice try Richard, but your sexy is showing…

And my absolute favorite picture released so far is:

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Yes, my most favorite picture of Richard Armitage from his latest project is one where he’s silhouetted against a huge rubbish heap (not a sentence I thought I’d ever type…) and trash has never seemed so appealing or it may just be Richard’s profile and Gizzy hair…

On the Labor Day, may I thank you for all the work you’ve put in, much to the delight of you admirers, and for all the times you Werk it! on the red carpet, during interviews, photoshoots, film sets and the likes 🙂

52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge: April Reads (books 1-5)

I had decided to make sure I was getting the best bang for my buck sabbatical, and I had seen posts floating about regarding reading a book a week, for 52 consecutive weeks.

There are many different versions of the challenge, but as always I’ll just make things up as I go along.

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Granted, most start in January, but I have done my fair share of New Year’s Resolutions that had disappeared by week 2, so I was confident that it’s not the day when you start something but the action of actually doing it that matters.

I really didn’t know how many/little a book a week would be.

I’m usually in the middle of at least one and the moment it’s done I already have my eye on the next and dive right in.

Because I have periods when I can read all day long (I know, I love my life then…), I decided to take it a month at a time, accelerating when I could and not worrying if I could only sneak a few pages when RL stuff would pile up.

I’m not including books I’m reading for work or audiobooks, although I’ll mention any that are worth your attention.

52 books seems like a hefty amount, but by the time I chose those that I had been meaning to get to for a while, I was already up to 30.

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I think variety is key, so I shall endeavour to make sure I’m not just reading book from within my comfort zone (food/nutrition, steampunk, book series), but also take the road less traveled.

As I still have over 20 books to add to my folder, I would greatly appreciate your recommendations.

I’m looking for books that have somehow moved or influenced you, that have widened your horizon and were a bloody good read.

I’m trying to alternated between fiction and non-fiction, biographies and lighter reading, so give me your suggestions 🙂

Here were my choices for April as well as a quick review (which I’m pants at, BTW, so don’t expect much).

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First up, this one is a bit of a cheat as I had started reading it before I decided to challenge myself, but it’s too good not to mention.

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked us by Michael Moss

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“Moss takes us inside the labs where food scientists use cutting-edge technology to calculate the “bliss point” of sugary beverages or enhance the “mouthfeel” of fat by manipulating its chemical structure. He unearths marketing campaigns designed—in a technique adapted from tobacco companies—to redirect concerns about the health risks of their products: Dial back on one ingredient, pump up the other two, and tout the new line as “fat-free” or “low-salt.” He talks to concerned executives who confess that they could never produce truly healthy alternatives to their products even if serious regulation became a reality. Simply put: The industry itself would cease to exist without salt, sugar, and fat. Just as millions of “heavy users”—as the companies refer to their most ardent customers—are addicted to this seductive trio, so too are the companies that peddle them. You will never look at a nutrition label the same way again.” X

AgzyM says:

I freaking loved this book.

Even if books on nutrition aren’t your cup of tea (or pound of lard, as the case may be) this is a must-read.

As a food/nutrition junky, I’ve read and watched my fair share of stuff regarding a healthy body and what to put in our gobs to keep it that way, but they have ranged from the boring, craycray to the right darn “how do we contact your mother-ship?”.

This book, written by a Pulitzer award winning journalist Michael Moore, had me fuming, both at the audacity of food giants, but also at my own stupidity and ignorance.

At first I regarded it as “something that was happening far far away”, until I recognized most, if not all, brands, which can actually be found at my local supermarket.

It’s not a coincidence that food giants describe their customers as “users” as the correlation between a sugar and drug addiction is disturbing.

The bottom line is, the companies care only about the bottom line, they will do everything and anything to get you hooked on processed food, at the same time defending themselves by stating that it’s what the customers want.

Rating:

This book gets the full 5 Armitages

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What I learned:

Almost every single processed item you buy is either packed with sugar, fat or salt, most probably all of the above.

Read the freaking label and make smart choices!

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

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“Amazon.com started off delivering books through the mail. But its visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, wasn’t content with being a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become the everything store, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that’s never been cracked. Until now. Brad Stone enjoyed unprecedented access to current and former Amazon employees and Bezos family members, giving readers the first in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of life at Amazon. Compared to tech’s other elite innovators–Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg–Bezos is a private man. But he stands out for his restless pursuit of new markets, leading Amazon into risky new ventures like the Kindle and cloud computing, and transforming retail in the same way Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing.” X

AgzyM says:

I love a good biography and delving deeper into the lives of people of success and as an huge Kindle fan, this book immediately caught my eye.

It certainly is a lesson in ambition, perseverance and vision, but also in corporate bullying and the disintegration of the work-life balance, about who little thought and sentiment is attached to the person when one only focuses on the big picture.

Although there’s an underlining feel good aspect to Bezos’s tale, ultimately it’s one that I had difficulty relating to my own life in a significant way.

Sure, you can have a great idea and strive to turn it into reality, but the fairytale shatters when you realize that behind the dream was a team of Ivy League and Wall Street professionals and millions upon millions of dollars.

Rating:

That’s 4 Armitages for this one.

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What I learned:

This book contains one of my now favorite quotes:

” It’s easier to invent the future than to predict it”

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

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“In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.” X

AgzyM says:

This book seemed to have been following me around for a while and as I have been contemplating my own repetitive habitual behavior, it seemed only a matter of time when my eyes and its pages would come together.

With great expectations comes… a bit of disappointment.

I found the first part of the book to be quite dry (lab rats anyone?) and although it may have offered some readers a light-bulb moment, I felt like I already knew a good deal of the information provided and what I didn’t know (the background to Fabreze and such) I was OK with being ignorant about.

The book also ended rather abruptly and if you were looking for ways to change your habits, it’s all summed up in the appendix.

Having said that, ever since I finished this book, I seem to be referring to it an awful lot in conversations I have throughout the day (yes, OK, I’m very chatty…), so perhaps this book has left a more lasting impression on me than I had initially thought.

Rating:

Good, not great

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What I learned:

There is no scientific reason why shampoo or toothpaste lathers/foams other than to give the impression that “it’s working”.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

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“Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.” X

AgzyM says:

After the previous choices I was in dire need of a change and, although you should never judge a book by its’ cover, this one reeled me in.

It’s an odd book from the get go.

A strange combination of narration, emails, letter and such, it’s a seemingly ad hoc collection of bits and pieces of writing, but serve to create the main plot.

The plot is twisted and slowly unravels until we reach a (extremely far-fetched) climax, but all in all it’s a quirky tale that will have you laughing and squirming with embarrassment.

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Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

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At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her. X

AgzyM says:

I left this book for last and I’m so happy I could tear through it on a Sunday as I just couldn’t put it down.

As I’ve been going through my very own changes, I’m particularly interested in learning in paths that others have taken when they’d found themselves at a crossroads.

Slightly reminiscent of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, this story certainly packs a punch and has you both sympathizing and at times harshly judging Strayed’s decisions as she embarks on a mission to heal from a path of tragedy and self-sabotage that puts my own stroppy attempts to shame.

This story is inspirational and painful, and touching, and painful… and worth working a mile in the protagonist’s (too small) shoes.

I highly recommend it, that’s why I’m giving it 5 Armitages and I’m throwing in a Lucas bum because I really enjoyed it!

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Honorable mention:

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

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“In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.”  She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home. “ X

This book has certainly been making quite a splash, although I very much doubted that I was the intended audience for Sandberg as I’m not a corporate worker, nor do I exhibit any signs of ambition and I’d loathe to be anyone’s manager (I have a pathological need to be liked…).

I ended up making my way through this book, a chapter at a time, with one of my students.

We’d look at vocabulary, flesh out key ideas and such, but somewhere in the meantime this book really connected with me, despite the fact that the author has clearly taken a different path.

I presume most people think I’m one of those women, those bloody feminists, but I calmly try to explain that the simplest form of feminism strives for equality, nothing more and nothing less and I really do believe that Sandberg is a kindred spirit in that regard.

The book isn’t perfect, but then the writer doesn’t claim to be either, so this book is worth checking out, if only to form your own opinion.

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 I’m already gathering up my books for May, so make sure to leave your reading recommendations 🙂

 

Times change and we with time… Ramblings Part 1

This post is OT to most things I’ve written and very much AT ( AgzyM-centric topic).

Be warned, it’s soapbox heavy and filled with honest ramblings that may induce severe headaches.

 For some, this may well be THE most boring post I’ve ever written (and that’s saying a lot!).

In other words, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m indulging myself and I will be back with more reader-friendly posts once I get this chain of thought out of my system.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about change recently.

Whether it be inspired by news of new RA projects, each more demanding and different from the last, or the natural flow and ebb of the fandom, not to mention the stories of change that my friends within the fandom share with me, and I get emotionally invested in.

I’ve been going through my own bunch of (somewhat) cathartic changes myself, so let me bore you a little on this subject.

I remember my late teens and early to mid- twenties being governed by the need to go, see do.

I felt like my feet were on fire (no, it wasn’t athletes foot…) and as soon as I would come back from one adventure, I’d be planning my next big escape.

The mere thought of holding down a job for a longer period, getting a driver’s license and car, any indication of stability would have me in cold sweats, checking for cheap airline tickets to London or NY.

Fast-forward 10 years later and I was positively stuck.

Not that I knew it, of course.

I had a thoroughly cushy life, with I job that I liked (and still do), financial and emotional stability, a life devoid of too much stress or worry.

Sure, there were things I wanted, but there just came a moment where things were OK as they were, my life was somehow set in stone, the trajectory set, me obviously heading down the road that I thought was destined for me.

The thing about being comfortable, stuck in a nice not demanding life is that you have no impulse to actually stretch yourself, try new things, take a risk on the off-chance that you’ll made an OK life a Great life.

I was convinced 20014 would be a kick ass year, but it started out rocky by kicking my ass instead and things happened that doused me with a big old bucket of icy cold water to snap me out of the rut.

By the time I was processing what was happening, many things I had read and learned in the past 5+ years had kicked in (see, you should never give up on educating yourself…) and gave me the impulse and tools to climb out of my comfort zone and start working on that life I was sure would someday come, but was doing nothing about so someday would be now.

Although this is much too big of a topic to write about in one post, let me skim through the key points and share the smart stuff that helped me on the off-chance someone else may be feeling the same way and is looking for that wake-up call/guidance to jump-start their life again (because, you know, this is it, we only go once on this carousel…).

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Today I’ll be tackling a difficult issue: The Body

I’ve probably complained/bitched/worried about my issues with the ol’ carcass on a number of occasions.

Long story short, after countless attempts to get that perfect body, I was none the slimmer, none the wiser and hell bummed.

Diets? I have tried them all.

Who cares you feel faint all the time, at least you’ll pass out in a cute dress, right?

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I had reached the point where I was actually researching gastric surgery.

Sure, maybe that would be a way out if it wasn’t for the fact that no sane doctor would ever operate on someone whose BMI wasn’t even in the “obese” category (not to worry, I had a cunning plan- I’d just plump myself up on purpose for a few months prior to the consult, play the old “I have a bad back card” and hope for the best).

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In other words, I had reached a point where I wasn’t thinking clearly anymore and I had been disappointed, or worse still, had disappointed myself so many times, I lost faith in any ability to change.

I was so hellbent on focusing on my body, I completely stopped to thing about the ol’ noodle (and I don’t mean the noodles in a stir-fry).

If I’m going round in circles, doing the same thing over and over again, how the heck am I expecting different results?

feel crap – crash diet – lose weight – go back to old eating habits – gain weight – feel crap… and so on…

I realised I had spent so much time focusing on the results (and it’s hard not to when they are glaring at your from your mirror reflection), but I had never wondered why.

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I must admit I was quite fortunate- reading up on healthy nutrition has been a pastime of mine for a while, but I had never really implemented what I knew and here’s why:

I was a compulsive overeater.

Yup, I found it a head scratcher when Milka introduced a chocolate wrapper that you could seal up again.

Seriously? Who opens a bar of chocolate, eats a few pieces and leaves the rest for another day?

I’d eat little all day, functioning on coffee and cigarets, but once the evening feast began it wouldn’t stop till it was time for bed.

When you wake up and you are still digesting food, you’re doing something terribly wrong.

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Everything I ate was processed, came in a plastic wrapper, box or can and the living daylights processed out of it, not to mention a ton of crap added.

Overweight and malnourished/starved because you’re filling yourself up on empty crap is an interesting mix.

You eat when you’re happy and celebrating, eat when you’re sad, depressed, worried, stressed, eat to fill that empty hole and chase it with more food to clog up the hole being overweight has created.

Then you actually use your dissatisfaction with your body to actually not do stuff (added bonus- you have more time to eat…).

As I type out the eating sins of the past (and the list is by no means exhaustive!) I’m sure that at least a handful of you are nodding in acknowledgement of this painful truth.

I knew if I was to make any changes in my life, I’d have to start with my relationship with my body and with food (spoiler alert- the ripples of the change have affected many many aspects of my life…).

Here’s how it all went down.

I started to confront my eating problems and this is what has worked for me:

I acknowledged that diets don’t work.

Nope, not one bit.

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I have had countless arguments with people who swear by the ………………. (insert diet name) diet, they lost weight last year, so they will do the same this year.

If diets worked we wouldn’t have to spend a fortune, year after year, trying new low-this, high-that diets.

If you need to come back to a diet a year later, it actually means it did not work i  any meaningful way.

Chances are a year or so on, you’ve not only gained it all back, but I’m guessing that boomerang weight actually brought along a few additional kilogram buddies (hey the more the merrier, right?).

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What works is a complete permanent shift in your eating habits.

All of the slim people I spoke to gave similar answers to me bugging them about *insert whiny voice* whyyyyyy are you skinny and I’m not :

they eat breakfast

they eat when they are hungry

they stop when they are full

(btw, most didn’t even realise that what they were eating was considered a healthy clean balanced diet- they just saw it as food that fills the belly)

None of those points had ever occurred to me.

I started with tackling the problem of breakfast, which I have never eaten before, apart from those buffets in fancy hotels which I would hit with a vengeance…

I started out by taking vegetable juices to work with me and sipping them throughout my classes.

Belly full, vitamin/mineral intake- check!, problem of no time to sit and eat- solved!

I’ve learned that hen to eat is important, but what to eat is key.

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If you’re reliant on processed food, let me just urge you to read the book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.

I’ll be writing more about this book in a post for my April 52 Books in 52 Weeks post, but I am obligating everyone to pick it up.

This book made me furious, both at the audacity of food manufacturers, but also at my own stupidity.

Although I had already switched to a diet of 80% veggies and fruit by the time I read this, it helped me eliminate any cravings for things like Diet Coke.

See, we are hooked, we are processed food junkies and about 90% of the stuff in the supermarket was carefully designed that way.

No strong will, no inner strength? Bummed you let yourself down again?

Wrong and WRONG!

“Food” on offer is created to make you want more, keep crawling back (and loathe yourself in the process).

Until you wean yourself off the crap food corporations have addicted you too (hello sugar, salt and fat, my old friends), you are powerless to ever experience a healthy relationship with food and your body.

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Nowadays when I go shopping I have a clear list of what meals I’m shopping for, I start with the tea aisle and stock up on herbal ones, then I go to the nut/seed aisle, a quick stop at the diary and fish section and then the bulk in the fruit and vegetable part (OK, I usually stop off at the clothes section, my excuse- I’m not going to work in baggy jeans!).

You won’t see me in any other food aisle because those big wig food manufacturers are not going to rope me in.

I’ve identified my food triggers and have worked around them.

I’ve eliminated rice, pasta and grains as they trigger overeating, I buy fish/salad mixes that are a perfect serving for 2 so I don’t make the portions too big, when eating I stop every couple of mouthfuls to let my brain assess whether I’m full, I eat meals at specific times and I try not to skip any.

It really is so easy that I’m kicking myself for not getting my head straight years ago (but also feel fortunate I didn’t learn all of this 10 years from now).

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I make sure to eat a balanced meal- fish, an avocado, nuts/seeds, eggs at least once a week.

I experiment with veggies and fruit that I would never have tried before, stay clear of anything processed, avoid situations which can trigger me.

For those who suffer from cravings, I came across a very good method to free you from them, but make sure you do the following exercise a number of times:

Close your eyes and imagine your guilty pleasure, say chocolate.

How it feels, melts in your mouth, coats the tongue.

Then press your thumb and little finger as you….

 imagine that the chocolate had melted and strands of hair had melted in it.

Seriously, there’s hair in the chocolate stuck in the chocolate and with each mouthful of chocolate you keep putting hair, nice long strands of blonde hair, into your mouth.

(I’m gagging as I type…)

The next time you get a craving for chocolate, just press your thumb and finger and you should automatically recollect this nasty sensation (it works, I’m programmed for hair-filled crisps, redhead and onion flavored, anyone?).

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OK, enough with the nasty…

Some of you will be wanting to know the bottom line, the numbers, statistics, feasible results (and I’m much too vain not to mention them).

Before I do I just want to underline again that this is not a so-called “diet”, this is a complete permanent overhaul, so weight loss has been a side-effect to the journey I’m on which consisted of ridding myself of food addiction, of nourishing my poor starved body, boosting my energy so I go out, do more, experience a fuller life.

Since I eliminated processed food I’ve dropped 13 kg but just like you can never watch a kettle boil, this has very much happened in the process of other things.

I have about 4 kg to go to the weight I would ordinarily boomerang from (and, conveniently, the size where all my skinny clothes fit).

The plan is this: I shall still monitor my weight to reach that benchmark, once I do I will let my body decide which weight is the healthiest for me (for a change).

If it wants to go lower- great, if not I will be more than content!

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Getting into those jeans isn’t the only benefit of eating a non-processed diet.

I also have energy to spare (yes, for those who know me in RL, I can chitchat for hours more now without even breaking a sweat…).

I’ve felt so good about myself that I’ve actually done something I never thought possible.

See, AgzyM doesn’t run.

She’s freakishly strong and I’ve always known there’s an athlete in me even if it was somewhat weighed down, but running? You must be joking!

Well, the jokes on me as I’ve engaged on a 5k training to get me in even better shape.

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Yes, I have allowed the madness of Zombies, Run to wash over me and I am helping the settlement of Abel out while they try to survive the zombie invasion in the post-apocalyptic world.

Hell, I AM Runner 5!

This 5k app is the absolute bee’s (running) knees and it’s perfect for anyone who has never run before.

Seriously, you can’t run for 15 seconds (week one)? Have you ever tried?

It’s gotten MagzyM and I so motivated that we get up at 5.30 am to do the run three times a week.

On Friday I felt like Wonder Woman as I strolled in to work- on top of the standard training I ran 10 minutes non stop.

(disclaimer for those who run marathons, I know it’s not a big deal, but for me this was huuuuuuge!).

And let me tell you, this is just the tip of the AgzyM iceberg!

Changing the way I eat was just the first habit that I changed, but one that allowed me to wake up,  get back control, to gain the strength and courage to do other things, to start dreaming again.

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OK, I think I have bored you enough, but for those who are on their own journey and would be interested in watching/reading more, here’s a tiny list of things that may help you make changes:

Food Matters by Mark Bittman

The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel (requires a bit of an open mind)

Watch Forks Over Knives HERE

Food Inc

The Weight of the Nation

There’s another rambling coming along soon, so run, hide, save yourselves!!!

 

Expect ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ this December … plus, DOS EE!

A Tolkienist's Perspective

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Peter Jackson announces Hobbit 3’s altered title

Forget The Hobbit: Into the Fire; the third film will be renamed The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – states Peter Jackson on his Facebook page, here.

In the mind-blowing statement, Jackson discusses how he and his team arrived at such a significant alteration:

“There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the “Desolation of Smaug … And so: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ it is.“.Peter Jackson

The news comes straight from the director himself, barely half an hour ago.

Totally unexpected and intriguing.

I personally loved “There and Back Again”, but I understand…

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Happy World Book Day (Armitage Style), Bookworms!

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Happy World Book Day (unless you are either Swedish or British)!

I don’t know about you, but for me there’s nothing better than to dive between the pages (paper or electronic).

I shall be writing more about the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge I’ve decided to undertake, but today I wanted to have a peek at the books I’ve read because I am a raving loony Armitage fan.

Ya see, Richard makes us better people 😉

One of the first books I read inspired by Richard was Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South.

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I’ve loved the mini-series dearly since it hit me like a ton of bricks in July 2012 and turning to the book seemed like a great idea to squeeze a bit more from my beloved story.

True, Margaret has raven black hair and Thornton is described as a big unattractive Shrek (not really, but he’s got nothing on Armitage), but there are many delicious goodies that never made it to the TV adaptation.

Another book that I reached for was Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

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Although many of my UK and US friend remembered reading this book as children, I didn’t know who or what a Tolkien was until a friendly American bar owner in Warsaw told me about Gandalf and the world of the rings (while serving my underage a*se a bunch of drinks…).

Since then I feel I’ve done my duty to educate myself with regards to Middle Earth, plus I’m more than a little relieved that I didn’t kill off that many brain cells during my wayward youth…

Another book that I have started reading (and need to finish finally) was a book that Richard himself had often referred to.

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Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour follows the life of Richard III, from his youth to the Battle of Bosworth Field.

I can’t really explain why I’d drop it time after time having read a few chapters, it’s well written and I do have a thing for British history.

Sunne, your time will come…

From the books that are on my list of “to read”:

I’m still not ready to delve into the world of Arthur Milller’s The Crucible.

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I have no doubt that I will weave my way in and out of the story, but for now I shall leave it on my Kindle as a reminder of what’s to come, a source of temptation and delayed gratification till I’m ready to create my own emotional crucible.

Talking about delayed gratification, I haven’t actually got this next book:

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Urban Grimshaw and the Shred Crew by Bernard Hare

I can’t wait to get my hands on this story, although wait I must till the embargo on frivolous shopping passes.

This is just a handful of books that I’ve read after being prompted by Armitage, one way or another.

What have you read as an extension of your Armitage admiring?

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