As any regular readers of the blog over the last few weeks will know, I have been on quite the adventure recently with a 10 Weeks To Fitness Challenge and have learned SO much about my body as a result, I have so much that I want to share and the minute the whole thing is over I cannot wait to write it all down and share my findings with the world. All in all I have been so excited by this challenge, training has been really fun and eating the right things has been weirdly satisfying too. But, because I am a normal human being, there have been times over the last few weeks where I've just thought: what's the bleedin' point?
This last week, well the last nine days to be specific, has been a huge mass of these times; a string of self doubt and self-hate and by yesterday, after eating two whole share bags of crisps to myself, I genuinely was ready to pack it all in. But today, today I found the strength to get back on the horse and that's the thing that I want to talk about.
So two weeks ago, at my weekly check in with Personal Trainer Calum Taylor, I was doing really well. I had lost a huge eight pounds of fat (not weight, actual yellow, lardy fat) and was SO much fitter than I thought I could have got in such a short space of time. So I started the week with excitement, ready to continue smashing the shit out of life. But by Thursday, I was tired. I went out for a run in the morning and only got a mile in before my body was like: er babe, what you doing? Not today. I don't know why it said that and I really don't know why I listened to it, but I went home.
This was the beginning of a huge decline. By Friday I thought: I need a day off, on Saturday I thought: I took one off yesterday and the world didn't end so perhaps I should do the same again. I saw Calum on Sunday and I was so low and depressed about it I actually asked him not to weigh me and then when Monday came around? I had slightly given up. I put my gym clothes on a couple of times throughout the week but took them off after about 20 minutes and every day found new excuses not to work out. I avoided mirrors and pushed myself into a state of denial. Sure I was angry with myself but I subconsciously reminded myself that the world was still spinning whilst I wasn't exercising so surely I didn't need to worry.
But deep down I was really disappointed with myself. What's the point in a 10-weeks-to-fitness challenge if you take a week off in the middle? What have I achieved if I give up now? Do you really want all of that hard work to be for nothing? You see, when I was in the throws of it, I really was loving this challenge, the exercise and gym classes in particular. Although I wasn't seeing the huge changes in my body that I had wanted/expected to see overnight in the shape of a raging six pack and arms that Jessica Ennis would envy, I was noticing how much easier everything was becoming, I noticed that my breakfast tasted so much better, I was aware of how much energy I had and I felt smug the whole time, and not smug in a wanky 'I'm better than everyone else' kind of way, but smug in a 'God girl you really are fabulous' kind of way. But in my week of despair and hopelessness I forgot all of that and fell, all too easily, back into old habits.
But then today, because my boyfriend and I like to think we're Insta Couple Goalz (lol, joking), we had plans to go to our local Saturday morning boxing class that we went to every week for the first few weekends of my challenge, and somehow, admitting to him that I had quit was too hard. Telling him when he got home in the evenings that I didn't make it to the gym that day was fine, but looking him in the eye this morning, when we had no other plans all day and making up some bullshit excuse? I couldn't do it. So I put on my lycra (it still fits) and we jogged, YES JOGGED, to the gym.
I am writing this now from underneath a layer of salty, crusty sweat. My arms feel like jelly and my hair has never looked so haywire in my life. I walked through the door half an hour ago and sat down at my computer, telling Alex that our plans of going to Homebase this afternoon were going to HAVE to wait, because I was feeling SO inspired that I just had to talk about this.
Running the blog that I do I often feel like I am somehow betraying my roots by being fit and by training and caring about what I eat and wanting to lose my stomach fat. I sometimes feel like I need to keep it quiet and not just become another person accidentally shaming the living shit out of people for enjoying a pizza and not doing pilates at 5am every day. But if I have realised anything over the last few weeks it's that understanding your body and treating it well is not something to be ashamed of, it's something to be INCREDIBLY proud of. It annoys me so much that if you want to see a difference in your body and be toned and healthy then you have to eat right ALL the time not just on Monday when you're inspired, it annoys me that you have to exercise more than once a week if you want to maintain fitness and it annoys me so much that it's not as easy as lots of people on social media would have you believe, but this journey, this adventure, has taught me that treating your body right is just the coolest thing you can do for it.
But I wanted to talk about my week off because no one ever talks about the bad bits and that's the mot annoying thing of them all. Keeping motivation up all the time is REALLY hard, saying no to chocolate brownies is REALLY hard, becoming a 'porridge for breakfast before I go and destroy my legs in a spinning class' kind of girl is REALLY hard and sometimes I can't do it, sometimes I can't be that girl, this week I was NOT that girl. But that doesn't mean that I can't try to become her again.
We are SO quick to punish ourselves for failing. Often when people get into exercise or healthy living or a challenge like mine they find themselves 'fucking it up' on a Friday night by eating a pizza, a whole tray of garlic bread, six bottles of wine, a wheel of cheese and six bags of chocolate buttons and before they know it they've thrown the whole thing in: what's the point? I've fucked it up now so I might as well give up. I'M A WEAK, TERRIBLE PERSON, DON'T LOOK AT ME. And because they did that they think they can't undo it, that you're one or the other. You're EITHER a '6am spinning class and porridge for breakfast' kind of gal or you're a 'six bottles of wine and a wheel of cheese' kind, but you can be BOTH. It's called having a life, it's called being a human.
There is nothing that I can do about my week off now, it's happened, it's in the past. It doesn't matter why I did it or who's fault it was, it's gone. What matters is now is what I decide to do next and as of this morning: I'm trying again.
We HAVE to be allowed to fuck up with these things and not lose all of our motivation every time we do, that's part of life and it's the strength to put that behind you and forgive yourself that you really need to find.