It’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week right now and so I decided I’d share my story with you. It’s not dramatic, or extreme, I was never clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder, I’ve never been anything other than a normal, healthy weight, but I do believe I had disordered eating, and it was probably more recently than I like to admit.

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What Is An Eating Disorder?

Before I begin, let’s define what an eating disorder is. When we hear the words ‘eating disorder’ our minds usually jump straight to anorexia or bulimia, something reserved just for those who are hospitalised because they’re so sick that their bodies can’t function anymore. Yet according to the NHS’s website, an eating disorder is categorised as ‘having an unhealthy relationship with food’ or ‘being obsessed with your body shape or weight’. Thinking about these two definitions, it opens up the moniker to a lot more people than you’d think. I wonder how many of you reading this HAVEN’T gone through a period in life where you’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food, aka feeling guilty about eating something, having a binge, eating a severely reduced number of calories to change your body shape etc? And how many of you haven’t at one point been obsessed with how your body looks. And let me say there’s a difference between wanting to lose weight to be healthy, and wanting to lose weight because we’ve been told by society that a size 8 is healthy and if you’re a size 12 with even just a millimetre of extra flesh on your tummy that you’re not healthy.

My Eating Disorder Story

So keeping this in mind, I’ll come back to me, just for a short while. I’ve always been a tall person, and have varied around a size 10/12 my whole life. The main issues probably started when I was about 14, and at first it was just general teenagery, cutting out pictures from magazines of Lily Donaldson and bluetacking them to my wall, wishing I could look like her (and the fact I call this general teenagery is a problem in itself). Until I went on the pill at age 17 I had always been very thin, so when I started taking it I gained a little bit of weight, but I was for sure still totally healthy. I’m not entirely sure what triggered it but this is when the problem really started. I began to hate my body. I was discovering sex, I was at that awkward age where I wasn’t quite an adult but I also wasn’t really a young teenager anymore, all my peers were just as body conscious as me, Gossip Girl was a brand new TV show and Blake Lively and Leighton Meester were prefect and slim and that’s what everyone wanted to be, perfect and slim.

I don’t remember my first binge, but I would end up eating so much pizza/chocolate/sweets that I would get to the point where I felt horrifically nauseous and would have to stick my fingers down my throat to get it all out. It was a combination of feeling ill and not wanting that obscene amount of food being digested by my body. This would follow by vowing not to eat breakfast the next morning, taking these ridiculous açai tablets from Holland and Barrett that I thought would make me not hungry and literally putting a few drops of milk into a bowl with some cereal crumbs and leaving it on the side so that my mum would think I’d had breakfast.

Things seemed to hit an all time low at uni, I remember trying on a pair of flared yoga pants in Abercrombie & Fitch and being so horrified at what I saw in the mirror that I cried in the changing rooms. How on earth did the way I look make me cry?! How is it okay that we have a culture that made this a thing? The thing is this stayed with me into recent years. In 2016 before I found yoga, the amount of times I’d go and look in the mirror in my work toilets to see how my abs were looking is totally absurd. Counting calories was absurd. Berating myself for having too much chocolate was absurd. Making myself throw up for fear of getting fat was absurd. But I know I’m not the only one. The fact that I’m writing this article just proves that it’s still very much an issue. And maybe your eating disorder hasn’t characterised itself as sticking your fingers down your throat, but I can be certain in thinking that about 80% of people (and I say people because I know this is an issue for guys too) have had or still have some kind of complex with the food they eat or with the way their body looks. Some days those thoughts still creep in telling me I’m not good enough, but I’m happy to say that for the most part they’re no more.

Hating Your Body Isn’t Normal

You think Slimming World and Weight Watchers is good and healthy? You’re wrong. You think counting calories and dieting in any way is all good? If you’re doing it to lose weight or tone up or whatever (unless you’ve been specifically asked by your doctor to do so) because you’re unhappy with your body and you think being smaller will answer all your problems then in my opinion your relationship with food is in some way disordered. Do you think cave men and cave women used to have to count calories? Do you think neanderthalean women used to pull at their fat in front of a mirror? No. Because there’s a lot more to life than how we look and making ourselves feel guilty for not looking like people who are stuck on the front of magazine covers. We’ve got lost. And it’s not one person’s fault, it’s an amalgamation of the media, big companies feeding on our insecurities to make money and social media making us think life will be better if we look this way or if we look that way and magazines labelled ‘health’ magazines only putting pictures of scantily clad size 8 women on their covers. Sure, aim for health, aim for a body that works at its optimum and keeps you healthy, happy and safe, but do not think that being a size or being a certain weight means you’re not good or whole or any less of a human being than that ‘skinny girl’ on TV.

It makes me so fucking sad to think that there are people out there who are unhappy with their bodies. Covering up at the beach because they’re so self conscious of their tummy rolls. When did we decide that tummy rolls are a bad thing? Why do we think being slim is a goal? I can’t answer that for you. But what I can say is that whatever your body looks like right now it’s incredible. Perfection is fucking boring and not even worth your time pursuing because FUN FACT you will NEVER EVER be perfect so what’s even the point? Save yourself some pain and some time and start to just look in the mirror, and tell yourself that you’re beautiful and that you love yourself. Exercise because it makes you feel good and because you want to be that cool grandma when you’re 70 who still goes for walks and can run after her grandkids in the garden. Eat food that you know will make you feel good physically and eat something that makes your brain feel good every once in a while. Don’t restrict, live in abundance. Spread the feeling around. Teach your children to love themselves. This is how we eliminate eating disorders. This is how we make sure that no other teenager looks at herself in the mirror and hates what she sees.

As many of you will know, I have a chronic knee injury, my knee is slowly getting stronger and stronger, but as I can’t train in the way that I used to (lots of high impact, running and plyometrics), over the last three years I have changed the way I train a lot, and part of my rehab for my knee has been to take up spinning classes. Before I moved to London I wasn’t too into them, but since coming to London and realising that the spin scene here is AMAZING, I am now becoming a spin addict!

On Thursday I attended an event to celebrate the opening of the new Another Space studio in Bank, in collaboration with Figleaves. We did a spin class with Olivia, one of my favourite Another Space teachers and oh my god it was as awesome as ever! The more I go to spin the more I love it, and my knee surgeon has been really happy with the strength progression in the muscles and tendons surrounding my knee.

I was lucky enough to be able to try out the Figleaves Anita Sports Bra, and as someone who kind of assumed I could get away with wearing yoga sports bras (little to no support) to spin, I have now realised I need to switch up my game and make sure I wear a correctly supportive and well fitted sports bra when I go to spin classes. Whilst spin is technically low impact on your joints, when you are up out of the seat a lot (like you are in classes at Another Space), you do end up with a slight high impact movement, not for the joints as the resistance of the pedals removes any real impact, but for your upper body, particularly if you do choreography in your classes that requires a lot of fast upper body movement.

So Why Should You Wear a Well Supported Bra?

Our breasts are formed of fatty tissue, and are supported by fragile ligaments, when we undergo high impact activity, the ligaments that hold our breasts in place are put under tension, causing them to stretch, due to the formation of ligaments, when they get stretched, they don’t return to their original length, and remain stretched. This, along with back pain, is one of the reasons why it’s important to keep those breasts in place with an adequate sports bra.

A survey carried out Herriot-Watt University last year showed that even breasts sized 34A need extra support during sport, this same study found evidence that wearing a sports bra can reduce breast movement by 56%!

Wearing my new Figleaves Anita Sports Bra I definitely felt more supported and I have made a vow to myself to wear a proper fitting sports bra from now on whenever I go to my spin classes! If you haven’t checked Figleaves out, you need to! I think the bras they provide are so pretty and stylish, which is super uncommon for those bras with higher support, they have SO MANY designs and colours on offer, and they go all the way up to a 54E! So there will literally be something for everyone on there, it’s truly amazing that they cater to such a wide variety of women, as opposed to just going up to a D cup like many brands that sell a sports bra (or even worse just having S, M or L as an option).

Make sure you check out Figleaves’ sports bra collection here, and if you fancy trying a spin class, make sure you go to Another Space, their new studio in Bank is so nice, the changing rooms are HUGE and you are provided with fresh towels, cleats for when you spin (so you don’t even need to bring trainers), Cowshed products in the showers (if you haven’t used this stuff before you’re in for a treat) as well as GHDs and everything else you could want whilst getting ready! Check Another Space’s webpage here.

Mercury is currently retrograding or ‘in retrograde’, you might have possibly noticed that things in life right now don’t seem to be going so well, you’re more likely to smash your phone up, you’re more likely to lose your keys and waking up has been really bloody hard. Some people (including myself) believe that this has a lot to do with the little planet named Mercury and the fact that it’s doing this thing called ‘retrograding’. I would knowingly nod whenever I hear how over the past few weeks, a friend’s life has just been a little bit ‘shit’, and say ‘well you know Mercury is totally messing with us’ and in all likelihood they would knowingly nod back. But if anyone asked me ‘What does Mercury being in retrograde actually mean?’ or ‘why does Mercury being in retrograde cause so much distruction?’ I’d be unable to answer. And this annoyed me, so I fixed it, and now I’m sharing it with you, because I’m nice like that.

What Does ‘Mercury in Retrograde’ Mean?

When Mercury is in retrograde, it means that the planet looks like it has started to reverse its orbit around the sun and move backwards. It hasn’t in fact done this at all, it’s an optical illusion that makes it look this way to use on Earth. This YouTube video I found was super helpful so I thought it was better for me to share the video as opposed to trying to poorly explain it myself.

I genuinely found this video so useful and informative, as it explains exactly what ‘retrograding’ is. But the question still remains… why does it affect us so much (or at least seem to?)

Why Does Mercury Being in Retrograde Mess Up So Many Thing?

People say things like ‘never get your hair cut when mercury is in retrograde’ or ‘don’t get a tattoo when mercury is retrograding’ but why?!

There is no scientific proof that this effs up our lives, but, I think many people can agree, there is some kind of correlation, and things have been going a little bit weird around my life over the past few weeks, and I’ve heard friends say the same, the question still begs, why?

In astrology, Mercury is the planet of communication, and day to day expression. Mercury is known for being unemotional, it is inquisitive, analytical and it rules how we categorise our thoughts. When Mercury is retrograding, astrologers believe that these things the planet gives us, start to shut down a little, communication isn’t quite so simple, it’s harder to express yourself, and as a result, things get misinterpreted and life in general just starts to get a bit funky.

What Do We Do About It?

Well unfortunately, because the Earth is going to keep on turning, and it will keep orbiting the sun, as will Mercury, Mercury retrograding is an inevitability we have to deal with. I truly believe as human beings start to become more in tune with themselves and with the universe around them, things such as astrology will start to play a bigger role in our lives. So, when Mercury is in retrograde (like it is now until the 23rd December *GULP*), what can we do reduce its effects?

The first thing is to just accept it, if you believe in this phenomenon then just accept it for what it is, and just be more diligent with your communication, be more patient with yourself and with others, and take more time when making decisions about certain things, understanding that maybe you’re not quite so clear headed as usual.

I hope that was helpful! Lots of love x

Since I’ve started sharing my new moon ritual ideas and just general love for the moon over on my Instagram account @hannahrosecluley, more and more people have started asking me more questions about my ritual, so I thought I would write out a blog post explaining what I do every new moon.

Before I begin, just to explain, the new moon is the first phase of the lunar (moon) cycle, when the moon is on the same side of the Earth as the sun, and therefore the sunlight shining on the moon’s surface can’t be seen on us down on Earth because it’s on the other side of the moon. We have a new new moon (ha) roughly every 30 days. So with the new moon we can’t actually see it from Earth, but obvs it’s still there. In the Hebrew, Chinese and Hindu calendars, the new moon signifies either the start of their month, or an important date to set new goals or start working on new projects.

Many people believe (and especially throughout history), that, just as the oceans are effected by the moon’s cycles, so are we. Both the moon and sun have a gravitational pull on the Earth, and therefore on humans, animals and plants, there is no scientific studies that prove that the moon truly does affect us, but sometimes you don’t need a study to back up what you already know (like really, people go crazy around a full moon and my sleep is always fucked up, I don’t need a study to tell me whether it’s related or not).

Whether or not there’s a connection, I personally love the moon (it’s so pretty hey!) and I love that I have a firm place every 30 days or so to sit down, check in with myself, meditate and do my new moon ritual and goal setting. Before I explain, I would suggest a few things:

  • Get Moonology by Yasmin Boland – goes into so much detail on the moon and it’s my moon encyclopedia!
  • Get a note book or journal that you can use purely for your new moon rituals
  • Get yourself a nice candle or some palo santo for cleansing the air
  • Download the free app ‘The Moon’, it adds all full and new moons into your phone calendar and you can see what star sign the new/full moon will be in
  • Dedicate 20-30 mins 2-3 days up until the new moon to do your ritual
  • Create a happy, warm, calm and welcoming space for your ritual

My New Moon Ritual

Here’s how I do my new moon ritual:

What you will need:

  • Notebook & pen
  • Candle/palo santo/incense
  • Crystals (optional)
  • Quiet space
  • My phone for meditation timer (I use one called ‘Meditation’)

What I do:

  • Set everything up & light my candle/incense/palo santo
  • Pull 3 cards from my ‘The Universe Has Your Back Deck’ for some nice loving inspo
  • Write down a list of things I want to achieve in the next month, get real specific and make them realistic. For example if you have an overarching goal of ‘Move to the countryside’ then start to think of the smaller steps you need to take.
  • I then take a moment to just sit with those goals, and I manifest them, which means I truly start to believe in my heart that they’re not just ‘going’ to happen, but that it’s already a done deal, and that I don’t even need to worry about it. Yes I may need to work towards them, but I don’t have to feel anxious that they won’t come true, because they will.
  • I create my own affirmation for the month that is relevant to my goals. You can find loads of affirmations online if you need inspiration, don’t feel shy about using one someone else wrote.
  • Meditate on my goals, so after the manifestation I set them in place with a clear mind, sometimes I hold a relevant crystal in my hands if it feels right
  • I ‘ohm’ three times to seal my ritual

Please bear in mind this is my own practice and I have worked out what feels right for me, what feels right for you may be totally different!

Do you have a new moon ritual, if so how do you do yours?

If you are remotely into the well-being scene, chances are you’ve seen turmeric being splashed around on social media and online as one of the latest health trends, I’ve been taking it in tablet form for a year or so to help with my knee and my gut, and now that turmeric lattes are as common as pigeons in London, I thought I’d share some reasons why it’s such a highly coveted spice and also a recipe to make your own turmeric latte at home:

5 Reasons Why You Need Turmeric In Your Life:

It’s highly anti-inflammatory

Turmeric contains a compound called Curcumin which helps fight inflammation (the bad kind – the swelling around an injury is actually helpful for your body) and aids your body in repairing damaged cells.

Turmeric increases our bodies’ antioxidant capacity

Antioxidants fight off free radicals, which helps to protect the body again diseases, ageing and damage to cells.

Turmeric could help improve brain function

Curcumin found in turmeric can help to increase amounts of a certain hormone called BDNF. This hormone is thought to improve the way your brain functions, although this still needs to be scientifically researched.

Turmeric lowers your risk of brains diseases such as Alzheimer’s

Due to Curcumin’s effect on your body’s levels of BDFN, turmeric could in turn decrease your chances of developing brain related diseases, as lower levels of BDFN increase your likelihood of developing such diseases.

Turmeric may even have cancer preventing properties

Studies have shown that the Curcumin found in turmeric can help to reduce the growth of new blood vessels in cancerous tumours, the spread of cancerous cells, as well as aiding the body to fight and kill cancerous cells.

Having read all of this it’s little wonder that turmeric is THE supplement to watch going into 2018, with high street coffee shops selling the golden coloured beverages that you can have as a caffeine-free option!

If you’d like to recreate your own at home why not check out Wunderworkshop, a company who sell loads of turmeric goodies!