#4 Inspire Interview Series – FLORA BEVERLEY – SCIENCE MEDIA & PR for Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists & FITNESS INFLUENCER

LegallyGymLiving

Welcome back to the fourth installment in the Inspire Interview Series! This installment has the longest title EVER but I didn’t want to short-sell the formidable multi-talent of today’s interviewee…!

white blank notebook Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

It’s been so exciting to talk to a range of amazing people who are all doing incredible work in varied fields… and naturally a running theme through these interviews is also how they balance their drive to achieve with taking care of themselves physically and mentally. (If you’ve missed any, do check back on Kris Pace, KOBOX brand director, Venetia Falconer, TV Presenter, blogger & influencer and Leyla Cooper, Founder & CEO of Pretty Athletic).
13672581_10205346599578896_274304170_n[1] Photo credit: Flora Beverley – http://www.foodfitnessflora.blog

Today’s Q&A is a pretty cool one because I think it manages to COMPLETELY bust some myths about social media influencers not being smart, and ‘smart’ or academic people not being able…

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Problems with plastic

We all know we should be using less plastic and reusing what we have as much as possible, so I’m not going to preach on here. However, I thought I’d do some quick-fire facts about our incessant plastic consumption since it was world ocean’s day recently (8 June).

  • Every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists
  • 160,000 plastic bags are used globally every second
  • Plastic takes around 700 years to start to degrade (depending on the type of plastic)
  • When plastic degrades it breaks into smaller and smaller pieces, which make it easier for them to contaminate the environment
  • Marine animals often mistake plastic bags for food, meaning they eat them, which over time can kill them
  • In the last 10 years, we have produced more plastic than in the last century. Our consumption is not going down (yet)
  • There is set to be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050

Plenty of reasons (although by no means all of them!) to reduce plastic consumption. Of course, NONE OF US ARE PERFECT, so this is all about reducing consumption as much as possible in a way that you can sustain. The more you do the better, and over time we should all be looking at our consumption habits and trying to do better. BE better.

Pretty much all industries are culprits in the excessive plastic use department, but both social media and wellness are pretty bad, with all their plastic bottles, straws and whatever else. So here are some simple ideas on how to reduce your plastic consumption. Tell your friends, make it cool, blog about it! Only in spreading the word and doing our part will we make a difference

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When your swell bottle is so instagrammable it makes it into every one of your photos

1. Don’t use plastic straws – such a simple thing, and yet it can make a huge difference. Plastic straws make their ways into our oceans by the tonne, and are an environmental disaster. They’re totally unnecessary and easy to cut out. Of course it’s easy to forget to ask for your drink without a straw, but try to make a habit of it when you’re ordering something. You can buy reusable straws if you’re keen on them, and they’re pretty easy to carry around with you!

2. Buy a reusable water bottle – if you’re getting a water bottle every time you head to the gym/to a class, you really need to rethink this. Buying and carrying around a reusable water bottle is SO easy, and also encourages you to drink more water, which is also a great thing. We’re lucky in the UK that tap water is totally potable, so refilling is easy and free. If you’re looking to make one change, this is a serious one to consider!

3. Carry a rucksack or have canvas bags in your everyday bag – I was going to say ‘don’t use plastic bags’, but often we forget and have to purchase those pesky 5p single use bags anyway. Carrying around a canvas bag in your handbag means you’re not ever caught short on that quick trip to the shops. Or, if you’re keen on walking everywhere like me, a rucksack has a multitude of benefits, and doubles up as a great way to carry your shopping! Here’s a great one that doesn’t make you look like a pleb (like me).

4. Say no to microbeadsMicrobeads are tiny plastic beads found in all sorts of beauty products. Thankfully, they are banned in some countries (including the UK), but when buying things overseas, this is something to be aware of. They are a complete disaster environmentally.

5. Don’t get takeaway (coffee) cups – annoyingly, these are 100% NOT recyclable, because even though they feel like paper, the inside is actually lined with plastic, making them one of the worst everyday plastic offenders. If you get a reusable cup/thermos, not only can you feel good about it/yourself, but a lot of companies actually give you money BACK, meaning over the long run you’re saving too! Here are some great coffee cups and my personal favourite – a swell bottle (or chilly’s).

6. Spread awareness/talk to local businesses – Making changes in your life is a great way to make a difference, but spreading the word can increase the difference you make. Encouraging businesses to stop using plastic straws, takeaway cups and plastic cutlery is a great thing to do, and could even save the businesses money. Why not speak to someone at your workplace to see what can be done there? My work has been taking steps to increase its sustainability (no plastic dishes, meat free Monday, no straws etc). It’s great to be a part of the change!

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Vegan pad thai

I whipped up this recipe the other day simply because I had a bunch of ingredients that worked together, but it was amazing and whilst it’s not the traditional pad thai, it worked well and was absolutely delicious! And so many of you asked for it, so here it is 🙂

Some pad thai is quite bad for you because of the amount of sugar, oil and salt present, but in this recipe the quantities are reduced (just because I don’t think you need it all) and veg content increased (because veg). If you prefer wholewheat noodles go for those (as I did), but white rice noodles work well too. Play around with it! Tofu works well as an added bit of protein.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 150g of rice noodles (I used wholewheat)
  • 2 white cabbage leaves
  • 2 spring onions
  • 60g bean sprouts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Chopped ginger, to taste
  • Handful of peanuts, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tsp mirin (or rice wine vinegar)
  • 2tbsp soy sauce
  • Chilli (optional)

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a large wok until very hot. Thinly chop the cabbage leaves and start to fry.
  • Chop the spring onions and place in the pan with the bean sprouts, ginger and garlic, tossing constantly.
  • Once softening, turn the heat down slightly and cook the noodles according to their instructions
  • Mix together the soy sauce and mirin in a small bowl
  • Once the noodles are cooked, add them to the wok and stir, adding the soya sauce mixture last
  • Serve and top with a generous squeeze of lime and handful of nuts (and chopped chilli, is using).

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    Please excuse the poor quality photo – I wasn’t expecting to write the recipe up!

 

Summer favourites with Philips

This post is sponsored by Philips, a forward-thinking tech beauty brand that I’ve been using since I was younger. I always associated Philips with electric toothbrushes when I was younger, but growing up, the gadget lover in me has become obsessed with pretty much everything they’ve released related to beauty! I love that behind every Philips product is a suite of research, so you really know you’re getting a quality product. Also, as someone who prioritises sleep over pretty much everything else I really appreciate anything that makes my beauty regime easier, which is why I’ve partnered with Philips to share with you my beauty essentials for this summer.

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Philips Lumea Prestige IPL hair removal device

The first time I tried IPL was when I was a teenager, using it sporadically over the summer but never really following any sort of plan (the sort that’s required to get any results). THIS summer however, I’m super excited to finally be smooth as a dolphin on my legs. Like I said, I like to minimise my beauty regime, so a couple of IPL treatments for long lasting smoothness is exactly what I’m looking for! If you’re forgetful like me, the Philips Lumea IPL app will remind you of your next treatment slot, so you can be assured that you’ll get the best results possible.

The Lumea Prestige compared to my old IPL device is like a space-ship to an old 2CV – it’s beautiful, relatively compact and really works. Onto the good stuff.

IPL, or intense pulsed light works by inducing a ‘resting phase’ in the hair follicle, causing a reduction in hair regrowth. With treatments spaced 2 weeks apart over a 6 week period it’s possible to get rid of pretty much all hairs in the treatment area – up to a 92% reduction in hair growth! After that, treatments are only needed every month or two if hairs start to grow back. Helpfully, the device has a ‘SmartSkin sensor’ which assesses the skin tone and automatically uses the correct setting, so you get the best results. I’ve been using the product on my legs (goodbye shaving cuts!) and for me it gave setting number ‘4’. Check out the brand official page here for skin and hair type suitability.

The product comes with full instructions and all the necessary kit, including different heads for the device, for underarms, bikini and face. It can be used with or without a cord so it’s super convenient. The app gives step-by-step instructions too and creates a personal treatment plan, so you’ll be getting professional level results without that price tag, which I think is amazing!

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Philips VisaPure Advanced three-in-one at home facial cleansing device

As a busy person with relatively little free time each evening, I really try to max out my ‘me’ time when I get it. The VisaPure Advanced has been a welcome addition into that routine. Not only is it absolutely beautiful (and it really is), it also has multiple functions to help you streamline your routine. Usually multi-functioning products scare me a little, and complicated controls really throw me off, but the ‘intelligent head recognition’ design means that whichever head you put onto the main body, it does the correct programme for that head, so no complicated controls!

The whole cleansing programme only takes a minute, with the brush head pausing between different areas of the face – so you do the right cheek, then it pauses, then the left cheek, another pause, then forehead and nose, so you end up doing the whole face correctly. I use a little cleanser and a splash of water every evening, which removes all makeup from the day. I love this because it means I don’t have to keep buying expensive (and wasteful) makeup remover wipes! This cleansing device is also 10 times more effective than cleansing by hand, which explains why my skin is so much brighter after using the VisaPure Advanced for just over a week.

The other heads I use maybe twice a week for a little extra ‘me’ time. The fresh eyes attachment is very cooling (especially useful if you’re tired and/or have puffy eyes as it encourages lymphatic drainage from the area) and the face massager just helps me relax and I feel like it’s doing a lot of good. It’s based on Japanese massaging techniques, which probably explains the relaxation factor! It’s the perfect excuse for a mini facial in the comfort of your own home.

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The VisaPure Advanced has three different heads for the perfect mini-facial at home!

Philips VisaPure Mini

Just like the VisaPure Advanced, the VisaPure Mini has been incorporated into my everyday routine as my go-to facial cleanser for on the move. As someone with oily skin, I love that it reduces oil levels without drying out the skin which is really important for me. When you spend a lot of time at the gym, oil and sweat can build up, but over cleansing can leave your skin dry. The VisaPure Mini is perfect for that – it offers the perfect level of cleansing after a gym session or before bed. It’s also super easy to stick in your gym bag because it’s so compact! It also lasts for about 45 uses before re-charging, so it’s good to keep in your gym bag for several weeks before needing to take it out to charge or for travelling.

I would recommend this product if you’re looking for something easy to travel with that improves your skincare regime (it’s 6x better than cleansing by hand!) but that’s also really good value.

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Perfect for your gym bag or travels, the VisaPure Mini is a very welcome addition to my life

Philips Anti-Pollution brush head

If you live in a big city, you’ll probably be aware of the amount of pollution we encounter everyday. Pollution is not only bad for our lungs and arteries, but it also clogs up our skin, dulling it. It’s always amazed me how much grime can collect on the face after a day out in the city! The Philips Anti-Pollution brush head has been a life saver for me. It connects to the VisaPure Mini and the VisaPure Advanced, so it’s really easy to take wherever you think you’ll need it most.

I hadn’t noticed the amount pollution had been dulling my skin until I used this brush head, but the amount of people who have told me my skin is glowing after just over a week of use is proof enough for me! The combination of the charcoal sponge and soft bristles work to dislodge particles from the pores, meaning your skin will look SO much clearer. 10/10 would recommend with either the VisaPure Advanced or Mini based on my experience!

I hope these reviews help you choose which product will help you step-up your summer beauty game! I for one, cannot live without them!

TL:DR

My recommendations: if you’re looking for an easy facial cleanser that basically does all the hard work for you, get the VisaPure Mini – it’s super transportable and easy to use. The Anti-Pollution brush head has been a godsend for brightening my skin, so if you live in a city, I would recommend this too.

If you want something a little more luxurious for some serious ‘me’ time, the VisaPure Advanced has everything you need, with 3 different heads for cleansing, eye cooling and facial massage. The intelligent head design means that it basically does all the work for you, so no fuss trying to get the right settings!

For long-term hair removal without the price tag of laser (and yes, they are two different things), the Lumea Prestige IPL device is amazing. Matched with the Philips Lumea IPL app and smart skin sensor it will help you get the best results you can. It’s super quick too, with 92% reduction in hair growth within 6 weeks when used properly! Honestly this has been a vital addition to my routine, and I can’t wait to be hair-free soon!

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Enjoy your summer, whichever product you choose!

 

Anon I

Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States, and yet due to its secretive nature, we so rarely talk about it. As part of my #MentallyWealthy series I wanted to include a variety of mental health issues, which is why I am sharing this story with you. Thank you so much to A for sending this in, I hope it helps someone in need 🙂 

 

I first started binge eating in 2013, around 5 years ago now. At the time I was 16 years old, had just left high school to study ballet full time, attend auditions, compete, and focus on pursuing my dancing career. Being in the ballet industry, I was highly aware of my appearance, and I worked hard to maintain a very lean physique to adhere to what companies wanted.

The first couple of months went well; I trained hard and progressed to the upper stages in my competitions. I would spend half the day at home doing online studies, then train until the late evening. But as time went on, I started to snack on less-nutritious food, and this lead to a small amount of weight gain. It eventually drew the attention of certain people around me and they felt the need to comment on it. I was happy at the time, but drawing attention to what was wrong with my body made me think I wasn’t good enough, and that I needed to “be better” by eating less and losing weight. This line of thinking back-fired and the restriction lead me to start sneaking the foods that I really wanted to eat in private when I was at home alone.

Cue the restrict-binge cycle. I would frantically raid the kitchen for things I deemed “unhealthy” that I could take without my family noticing. It didn’t even have to taste that good; if it was in abundance and a “forbidden” food, I would eat it. After the frenzy of collecting this food, I would take it up to my room where I was in a safe space – no one would discover me there as long as I kept the food hidden. My heart would be racing, palms sweating, my stomach would have a weird butterfly feeling, and I would almost feel high off “not being caught”. I would then begin to feel relaxed – the thought of consuming all this food that I had “forbidden” myself for so long was enticing, a huge release from my self-imposed restriction. During the binge I would feel happy, content and detached from my feelings, because I was finally allowing myself to be “free”. I’d keep eating to the point of feeling sick and my stomach couldn’t stretch anymore. When I couldn’t physically eat another thing, I would wake up out of the “dream-like” state I had been in and feel embarrassed, ashamed, and extremely disappointed within myself over my “lack” of self-discipline. Then I would binge again to make myself feel better. It was a vicious cycle.

After 6 months of training full-time, I travelled to the U.S. for a 2 month elite summer school at a well-known ballet company. I was advised to take this opportunity to “lean out”, and I was determined to take on this advice to stop my bingeing for good. Upon arriving there, a lot of factors worked against me. I was the only Australian in my level and despite attempts to make friends, I was scared to put myself out there socially. My roommate and I didn’t particularly get along, making me feel even more alone. This feeling of isolation was not a good combination for my eating habits. Everyone would go out to enjoy some ice-cream a couple of times a week and have a cookie after dinner, but because I’d restricted myself I felt like I couldn’t engage in these activities with them. Instead, I would hide in my room and binge on the foods I’d bought from the supermarket, giving me a sense of comfort from the foreign environment I was in.

At the end of the two months, I was desperately missing home and very lonely. I hadn’t lost the weight I’d wanted to, and felt like a failure going back, despite the fact I’d been chosen to perform in many lead roles and gained the interest of the company directors. I saw myself as not good enough because of this. Upon arriving home I tried to use extreme methods of restriction to lose the weight. Of course, it didn’t work – I would feel so deprived I would binge even worse than before. This continued to the end of the year – the pursuit of a dancing career was becoming too much for me and after my experience in the U.S. I decided to go back to school.

Since then, my relationship with food has been up and down – my weight has yo-yoed many times and I still struggle with bingeing to this day. It took a hit a couple of years ago when an immediate family member was diagnosed with a terminal illness. The stress of the situation was a lot to bear at the time, and having the responsibility of looking after her during treatment took a great toll on my mental health.

A big change happened at this point. I had to take her place on a trekking trip the following year and in order to do that I needed to get fit. I started walking long distances to get my endurance up, and then train with a heavy pack to prepare myself for the altitude. This didn’t end my bingeing habits for good, but it gave me something positive to focus on that didn’t require good aesthetics, helping to clear my mind and improve my mental state. What has changed for me since then is my relationship with myself. While I go through phases of not having good self-esteem, the “illness” has taught me how strong I can be and that my appearance does not define who I am as a person and what I can achieve. If I could go back to my 16-year-old self and tell her anything, it would be to stop being so mean to herself and just be content with the way she is! She doesn’t need to adhere to unnatural body standards to be great at something, because she is so much more than that.

In terms of how it’s affected my relationships, the urge to binge previously overruled my desire to see my friends – I would cancel plans to then binge at home because it felt comfortable. I lost a lot of friends because of this, and I will be the first to say that the binges weren’t worth all the good times I missed out on. My family has had to cope with my bad moods, anxiety and depressive tendencies surrounding the binge-eating cycle, with me constantly hiding in my room not wanting to talk to anyone. And to my partner, while I don’t seem to worry about what he thinks of my weight, I still fret over whether he will think I simply lack self-discipline, or that I have too much “emotional baggage” to deal with. I’m trying my best to overcome these thoughts, but some days it’s easier said than done.

So while I am still struggling with this, it’s made me stronger and more empathetic towards other people and whatever they may be going through behind the scenes. I’ve learnt a lot about myself, and I know what kind of person I want to be in the future. There’s nothing else to do now except keep chipping away at the “recovery” stone and focus on getting better!
To all of you who are suffering from binge eating and feelings of guilt – you are not alone. 

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