A lot of people jump online to make quite loud public declarations whenever they’re making a lifestyle change. I mean, I can understand why. It brings the whole new habit a little close to reality, it affirms the idea in your brain and it creates a sense of accountability for you to your readers (if you have any – lol). Today’s post is steering away from those set-in-stone commitments that we all usually like to throw out there. Instead, I’m going to be exploring a new-found desire and goal by chatting about my history with it.
Getting fit, losing weight or just feeling happier in our bodies is something we all want to do more of, or at least manage the journey better. My own relationship with health and fitness has been a rollercoaster, with ups and downs and countless promises to myself that are always broken by nightfall.
Recently, however, I’ve had an attitude shift. I’ve felt so much more focused on exercise as stress relief, an endorphin booster or a way to help me sound less puffy after a brisk walk. I’ve embraced whatever I’ve felt like eating and discovered that most of the time it’s not crisps and coke, but more likely some sweet potato chips and a tasty salmon fillet. Over the past few weeks I haven’t forced myself to eat salads every day and I definitely haven’t dined myself tasty bits (slushies and mini easter eggs if you must know), but instead of the overarching guilt or shame in not making every meal ‘perfect’ I’ve found solace in the idea that this is balance.
Of course, I’m still in the short-term reception room of these changes, so instead of going on about how wonderful life is now I’ve finally cracked the secret to happiness (sarcasm), I thought I would share with you a brief history of time(s that I’ve tried to be healthy and failed miserably).
Health, Fitness and Me
I used to be a seriously regular exerciser. Since around 14 actually, when my mum and I joined a gym and I used to stay on the cross trainer until I’d hit 500 calories when I’d then go home and have some cottage cheese on toast. My current memory of those 6-or-so months of going to the gym and eating mainly cottage cheese on toast is quite hazy, but the one thing I do remember is a friend exclaiming to me “your stomach is so flat!” after some time without seeing one another. It wasn’t said in a way that made me think my tummy wasn’t flat enough before, but it is one of my first memories of noticing my body having changed.
I’m emphasising this simply because back when I was fourteen or so, I don’t think I had a disordered way of thinking about my body, exercise and food. Those times on the cross trainer were memorable because I was actually hitting those goals of 500 calories, running for a whole Vampire Weekend song or being able to touch my toes. I was young, but I’m certain that it was healthy.
Roll on a few years and I’d discovered blogilates and Jillian Micheal’s 30DS (which I still love and cherish). I alternated between both intensely for a few months and then hardly at all for the following few. I even took up extra arm exercises the few months before my year 11 prom – I was wearing a strapless dress and wanted to feel happier with my arms since I knew I’d want to look back on these photos for a long time (which I do every so often). It was around this time that I started to feel more guilt when I didn’t work out and discovered that not eating for as much of the day as I could handle, made my tummy look flatter the next.
A few more years later (wow I’m really starting to feel old now) and my exercise routine had taken some slack, as had my attitude towards healthy eating. I feel like it was in this time where I discovered crisps (the day my willpower died) and would happily go through a sharing bag of Chicken & Thyme sensations the day after my one-day a week retail job. You know, as a treat to myself because I had done a whole 8 hours work and probably got a little bit further in attracting one of my taller and at-university-so-much-more-mature colleagues (FYI I never got anywhere with that).
It was this year where all I did was work a few days a week, and on my days off I fell into the habit of eating what I liked and being pretty darn lazy. I would indulge myself with crisps and sugary tea feeling so sure that one or two days of not eating much and working out to Cassie would make up for it. The few days before my shifts is the time where I would suck it up, do some workout videos, drink my two litres of water and make up for the few days of eating crap and doing nothing.
I mean, it worked for a while. But then it stopped working.
My tried and tested method for looking and feeling good stopped working. I distinctly remember this sinking in around a year ago, where it suddenly hit me that doing some exercise and not eating the entire fridge for a week or two wasn’t suddenly going to default my body back to its fifteen-year-old self. I’m six years older and it’s finally sunk in that Rome isn’t built in a day anymore (roll credits).
Last year was generally massively complacent in the health and fitness department. For some reason, I decided that I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of the self-destruction that followed me trying and failing to be as fit as I wanted. In some ways, this complacently worked in my favour, since I enjoyed the summer a lot more and felt quite good about myself, until the cold, dark of winter…
As we now know, it takes a lot more than a few days to combat a few weeks of junk food and a sloth-like step count. It probably takes the same few weeks, if not longer to combat those days of indulgence. So what happens when we let ourselves go for three solid months? If you could see me I’d probably say, “you’re looking at ‘what'”, but you can’t and that’s the very reason I’m a blogger and not a YouTuber.
As I write this I’ve just showered after Day 9 of a new out-of-nowhere commitment to my health.
Since I’ve realised that things can’t be fixed in a day or two anymore, the fact that I could be awfully unfit and quite frankly a bit too fat for years to come makes me pretty blue. So now is the time for action (and the action has started already).
I’m not going to talk about it much in detail because, a) there are some things best kept off the internet and b) it’s not a thing that should have an end point or something that is building towards some sort of climax. I’m here, I’m a bit fat for my own comfort and I’m changing it. It’s allowed.
For more body-positive chat, check out my latest wellbeing post, You’re Allowed to Dislike Yourself.
Let me know if you’ve had any similar realisations lately, or are going on your own health and fitness journey. Comment down below and share your story.
P.S. I know a plant is completely irrelevant to this blog post, but how exactly am I supposed to take a picture of the past? Yeah, exactly.