Your Story Matters – Lettie, @lettie_b
Can you tell the readers of North of Here a bit about yourself and your lifestyle?
I am a 24 year old nurse doing shift work, and am currently studying my masters part time. I lead a blanked lifestyle, meal prep and daily exercise and also the occasional wines with friends.
What does a current day in your life look like? (I’d love to know how you fit in being a Registered Nurse and studying your masters at the same time)!
I wish I had a normal day to share! Each day for me seems to be different to the last, depending on what shift I have at work. If I am working a day shift I wake up at 5:45am then take myself off to work, I will do my workout in the afternoon when I get home, whether it be a circuit or a walk/run. If I have an afternoon shift I generally sleep in until around 8am then do my workout before heading to work. Night duty is something I haven’t got into a routine for. It all depends on my sleep, but usually I’ll be asleep by 8am and wake up around 5pm, I get up and eat (because I’m usually starving) and then do my workout after that.
Can you tell us about some of the challenges you face when it comes to looking after yourself?
As you can probably tell from the last question, shift work is definitely a challenge when leading a healthy lifestyle. I try to never make excuses for myself because I know I am in control of my decisions, however, I can be a bit pathetic when I’m tired. Another huge struggle is sweet treats in the tea room, particularly at 3am when all I want to do is sleep and I think sugar is the answer to get me through.
How do you deal with set backs?
I try and always do a workout or go for my walk, but sometimes they will only be at 50% effort, however I figure that’s better than doing nothing at all. Also I try and pack a sweet treat, like a protein ball or a square of dark chocolate to help say no to the poor food choices available. I also try to think to myself, that yes, you will enjoy that lolly for the 5 seconds that you’re eating it, but you won’t enjoy how it will make you feel after, and you won’t enjoy how it will make you feel at the end of the week if you haven’t reached your goals.
You’re into week 63 of the Kayla Itsines program, can you tell us how you found the program and what keeps you going back for more?
I have tried so many programs and fitness regimes over the years so it’s absolutely crazy that I have stuck to it for this long. I think there are a few reasons why I have. Firstly, I believe a lot of fitness is mental, you need to have a great deal of determination and motivation to be able to stick to something, a girl at work said something to me and it just clicked, I started the program that day because I believe I was really ready to make a permanent change to my life. I spent around $300 on equipment (cheap stores and gumtree) and set up my back yard, I use a chair as a step still! I love that Kayla’s workouts can be done at home, or anywhere really. I still do my workouts whilst on holidays, in hotel rooms, sometimes slightly modified but I always manage to make it work.
What does your current training routine look like?
Ha! What I would do to have a routine! I have a table on my bathroom river that has a square for each day and I write in what I have done that day. The program is set out to do a workout M,W,F but that doesn’t always work for me, so I just do the workouts when I can, go for walks when I can, but make sure that I track it all so I know that I’ve completed everything at the end of the week.
What are your [current] favourite workout clothes and why?
I am definitely a Lorna Jane girl. It’s ironic, because I used to be really negative towards the brand, particularly the “Never give up” slogan, it saddens me to realise what kind of self loathing frame of mind I had back then.
Now I absolutely love and believe in the mantra of Lorna Jane, the brand is about positivity and empowering yourself and others.
Practically, I have LJ clothes that are years old and still just as supportive or comfy as the day I bought them. The only time I’ve ever given any LJ away is because it became too big. I also love the bright colours and design of her clothes.
Where (or who) do you turn to for fitness motivation?
There are so many incredible women out there it’s going to be hard to narrow it down, but I really enjoy the community on instagram, particularly the BBG community which is a huge group of women who all follow Kayla’s guides. It blew me away how incredibly supportive and encouraging total strangers can be, and seeing these everyday girls achieve some fantastic results has always been really inspiring. To name a few, I am always motivated by Kayla Itsines, Ashy Bines, Jacqui Giltrow and Hannah Polites.
You share a similar mantra to North of Here – keeping your fitness ‘real’ – how do you do that?
I try and keep a balance in my life. Some weeks are ‘better’ than others but I never let that get me down. In the past I have always been either really strict with fitness or not at all. Now I allow myself a treat meal each week, sometimes that turns into a treat day, but I never beat myself up over it. I find that by knowing I have an event coming up, or just date night with my girls, I will stay on track during the week and then allow myself to enjoy letting my hair down.
Grocery shopping is generally a pain, what are some of your favourite foods that you buy that make you feel great?
I always have coconut water in the fridge and plenty of lemons. Sweet potato is another thing that you will see me eat every single week. And dark lindt chocolate, and nuts, I eat lots of nuts!
What is your favourite recipe at the moment?
I love finding healthy alternatives to old favourites, so I love any recipe along those lines, but a favourite would have to be Rachel Attard’s mars bar slice. It is so easy to make and the end result is divine!
If you could give your younger self three pieces of advice, what would they be?
Only three? Hmm. Firstly, I would say stop pretending that you are OK with your size, stop blaming other people and take responsibility for the choices that you are making.
Then I would say only you have the ability to turn this around before it gets worse, you are in control of your life and you need to wake up each day and choose to be happy.
And lastly, love yourself, this body is the only one you will ever have, it will never be perfect because such a thing does not exist, stop comparing yourself to other women, stop being jealous, just love yourself and feed your body with nutritious foods and exercise to keep your cells happy.
What are your three top health tips for living a healthy lifestyle?
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, this applies to everything. I do meal prep every week, if the food is ready to go, I will eat it and stay on track. If I need to get up early to do a workout, I will lay my clothes out beside the bed, all I need to do is get up and put them on. If i’m going somewhere where I know healthy options will be limited I will pack my own lunch instead!
Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone else. I think that this is one of the most damaging things we can do to ourselves. Sure, it’s nice to appreciate a fit figure, and admire the hard work, but never compare or be jealous of what someone else has. Just always strive to be the best version of yourself. It sounds cliche but it is one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned on this journey.
Keep it real. Life isn’t just about weighing foods, and drinking green smoothies. My parents love to eat cheese and wine on the deck watching the sunset, and that is something I will never say no to. If you make healthy choices, swap out healthy alternatives most of the time, it’s OK to indulge every now and again.
What does ‘wellness’ mean to you?
I definitely think wellness encompasses your whole being, psychological and physical. As a nurse, I see first hand how important psychological wellness is, in conjunction with one’s physical health status.
What are five things in your workout bag?
I always have a protein shaker with my protein powder for after my workout. A bottle of water. A sweat towel (I get so sweaty!). Music, because I workout at home I have little speakers, but when I’m outside I’ll always have my headphones. And a g string, is that weird? haha I have a real OCD issue with visible panty lines. I just can not wear full briefs under tights (hope that isn’t too much of an overshare!)
What is one thing you do for yourself, for your sanity/health/well-being that you do everyday without fail?
I don’t really think I have anything that I would do everyday. Maybe talk to someone in my family, or close friends circle. I have the most amazing support network and they are always there to bounce ideas off, congratulate or encourage me or provide a listening ear.
North of Here aims to help me live a positive lifestyle, and aim for their true north – what does health and happiness ultimately look like for you in a sentence?
I love myself and I put myself first, I nourish my body with foods that will make me feel good and exercise to get my blood pumping and feel truly alive, I never compare my body or my life to anyone else’s and simply strive to always be the best version of myself.
Your Story Matters: Is a regular series where I sit down at chat with women like you about your health and fitness story. Everyone has a story to tell and we can all learn from each other. If you would to be featured please email me: hello <at> northofhere.com.au