Much to the surprise of my teenage self, I actually love being active. That is probably the most positive aspect of this whole journey. My weight has gone up and down and up and down but learning to love activity is something that I think stays with you when all is said and done. Thinking about it like this, this is just one of the problems with diet culture. You are not taught to love something tangible. The ONLY thing to love with the diet itself is the dropping of numbers on a scale. But when that's gone it's ALL gone. Learning to LOVE something never leaves you. When you love something or become passionate about something it becomes part of who you are.
There are times that I forget that I love activity. Usually this is as a result of injury or periods of inactivity. At the start of both of these things (i.e. the week AFTER an injury/ illness/ need for rest) I still remember that I love to be active. The longer the inactivity lasts the more the memory of enjoying activity fades until you get to the point when you're ready to get back to activity. And then. The HORROR. Everything bloody hurts. When I was younger and happier to be inactive, that would've been the end of me. The hurt, the ache, the moments of terror as you're attempting to place butt cheek to toilet seat the day or two after leg day would have chased me back to inactivity. But now, the love of being active has become part and parcel of who I am. I'm not always perfect, but I ALWAYS come back and I just wanted to address a few things.
1) First and foremost, to get joy from activity you MUST find the thing(s) you love to do.
If like me, you have been inactive for a good deal of your life, this may well take some trial and error. Things I know: I LOVE horse riding, I LOVE rock climbing, I LIVE to dance, I LOVE LOVE LOVE yoga. Even through ALL the injuries, I LOVE to run. There is nothing more freeing than lacing your running shoes, putting your headphones in and just going where your feet take you.
Things I also know: I HATE pilates (don't @ me with the similarities to yoga, I just don't like it), I HATE spinning (I'm sorry Heather, I tried), I HATE anything labelled legs, bums and tums.
And that is absolutely okay! If everyone LOVED everything or the same one thing, there would be no world records, there would be no phenoms it would just be everyone doing the same thing and it would lose its specialness.
2) Secondly, consistency is key.
Now, I know I am a pot calling the kettle black here. I spend my life falling on and off bandwagons. But in many ways this is why I know this is true. I feel (painfully) the impact of not having gone to the gym in a few weeks or disappearing from yoga for months at a time. I know exactly what it is to be an all or nothing kind of person and I am really trying to change that. For example, I was doing a yoga thirty day challenge at Sweat Studios. This would have been the fourth time I have completed it. But life, and weather, got in the way. My challenge isn't due to end for another 5 days. However, in those 5 days I would need to do 3.5 classes a day in order to finish the challenge on time. With my health the way it is at the moment, three and a half classes a day would finish me off. What is the point in doing something JUST for the sake of doing it if it'll a) kill me and b) truthfully set me back in the routine I am trying to establish. No.
3) Thirdly, it is NOT a competition.
There are people who thrive off competition. I honestly consider myself to be one of those people. However, as mentioned in my last blog post I am learning how to deal with my anxiety in a productive way. The anxiety I place on competition, not just with others but with myself also, is seriously damaging. I look at pictures of myself at my fittest or flit over progress charts and beat myself up. Sometimes it's gently- 'remember how amazing you felt'- more often it's scathing- 'ugh, you're so fat and useless sort your f*****g life out for f**** sake'- ALL of it is rooted in the past. I don't live there anymore, therefore all of that is unhelpful at least and damaging at worst.
|"I understand Tough Mudder is not a race, but a challenge. I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time. I DO NOT WHINE- Kids whine. I help my fellow mudders complete the course. I overcome ALL fears."|
We live in a world where EVERYTHING is an equation. Whether that is 'if I go to bed RIGHT NOW I will get 6 hours and 42 mins sleep' or 'if I walk to work I can have that donut I've been day dreaming about all my life'. We are stuck in cycles built of guilt and when activity comes into these equations we stop having fun. If everything is simply a part of the equation, is there really any joy? I am trying to eat mindfully, but honestly whilst I'm sorting my mental health out I simply cannot entertain equations of food and exercise. I have to eat to fuel my body so that it functions properly, not deprive it because of some deeply ingrained guilt as to my weight. I have to exercise because I am doing something I truly enjoy which also has the benefit of being incredibly good for me.
But most of all, be grateful for this opportunity
to be active. In one of my very first blog posts I wrote about running my second Race for Life. I ran for everyone who could not run themselves.
***** Update: I started writing this on 05/04/2018 and since then I have inspired myself in to doing another race for life. This is predominantly to get myself out of the negative mindset telling me I CAN'T do it. I bloody can. I have. ^^^ see photographic evidence of the finish line above^^^ I've got about ten weeks and whether I run, jog, walk or skip my way around the 5K course I am going to remember just how capable I really am. If you would like to help with Cancer Research UK's fundraising please see my fundraising page HERE. I'll update everyone of my progress between now and then. Good vibes only*****