I saw this over the weekend and it fitted perfectly with my next blog post. Now you know who I am I can tell you a bit more about myself and why I am how I am.
I have always been sporty (‘have been’ being the important words here!) From the age of 5 I swam for my local club – Chichester Cormorants, doing 3 training sessions a week and at least 2 away competitions a month. I did this until I was 14, then the time came to drop this as I needed to concentrate on my education as GCSE’s were fast approaching. As well as all this swimming, I also did gymnastics for 4 hours on a Wednesday afternoon after school and 4 hours on a Saturday morning, where physical strength and perfection was at the top of the priority list. As I started year 10 and picked my GCSE subjects, Dance being one and this I LOVED! I loved how dynamic it was, mainly Contemporary but also a mixture of different styles and cultures too. I also did after school Hip-Hop and Street dancing (don’t laugh, it was fun!). Then there was athletics at school in PE, and not forgetting the 3 hours of horse-riding I did after gymnastics on Saturday’s. Do you see where I am going with this? I did A LOT for a long time.
Now, although I value my sporting upbringing which taught me key life skills such as teamwork, determination, goal setting, perseverance, motivation and getting rewarded for working hard… The discipline and strict criteria that came with sports such as gymnastics and my later training in swimming, has had more of a negative effect on me. This is where the body confidence thing started to happen, or more correctly not happen. There was always those girls who were taller (I’m only 5ft 1″), slimmer, looked better without make up on, who were stronger, faster, more flexible, better dancers, more elegant,were brilliant at everything… you can see where I am going with this. And after a while this starts to make a person feel rubbish, and I was at the age where my body was staring to change too so everything was a bit all over the place.
Not to mention food. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I have always loved my food. But growing up in a house hold where everyone was sporty – My mum is an ex-British Triathlete and fitness fanatic – it was difficult not to have a love/hate relationship with food. As much as I don’t want to admit it I have fortunately never let it get so bad that I end up with an eating disorder, but my relationship with the food I love has been a turbulent one. Only now that I am feeling more comfortable in my own skin can I see just how much it controlled me. I have always eaten healthily, I enjoy smoothies, I make fresh soup once a week if I can, I eat lots of wholefoods such as blueberries, lentils and spinach, and chicken and I are the best of friends. But like everyone else I am a sucker for a treat, cake and pastries being my weakness. They say all in moderation and that is how it has always been for me, but it’s when I look back and realise that I would allow myself a treat and then as soon as I’d finished it, all I could think of was how quickly I had to burn it off – The words “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips” screaming at me. And the calorie counting was draining. So that, in a nut shell was where I decided this had to stop.
So after my epiphany moment about 4 months ago this is how I live now. I still eat healthily, but I can now enjoy the treats I love without the guilt and the feeling of “I shouldn’t eat that”. My boyfriend has also been a saviour in all this, telling me again again how he loves me just the way I am and that I can eat whatever I want. After almost 4 and a half years Tim, I’ve finally listened (thank you for being so persistent!) Yes I still exercise, about 2 or 3 times a week. I HATE the gym, but I have a new-found love for spinning classes and boxercise, and now I have stripped all the pressure to look perfect out of my life, I am really enjoying exercising wait for it… FOR FUN! (who’d have thought!) Now what I am quite keen to remind you all is that this blog is about my personal struggles with my body and my self confidence through my own experiences. So I’m not saying that being a gym bunny and a health freak is wrong, not at all, I’m just saying it’s not for me.
As my role model, Iskra Lawrence says “As soon as you stop trying to be perfect and just be you, you start to really love yourself, fat rolls, love handles and all”. I’m not yet the woman I want to be, but I am slowly becoming her.
So, my life motto is “Life is too short to not eat what you fancy!”
With that said, I am off to make a cuppa and enjoy my favourite biscuits, McVities milk chocolate digestives…
Thanks for reading, lots of love