Today I wanted to write a post about how I’ve come to develop my love and passion for fitness. I by no means think I am at the stage I want to be in terms of the aesthetic appearance of my body and in fact I have been going through a low point in terms of my body confidence over the past month. I wanted to write this post to remind myself how my mentality towards my body and health has improved over the past five or so years and hopefully inspire some of you to adopt a similar attitude.
I was always an active child dancing three times a week, horse riding and swimming which meant that I always had a small frame and never thought twice about the way I looked or the amount of food I ate. However, as soon I reached the age of fifteen and Instagram came about I remember completely switching my mind-set.
Suddenly, I cared massively about the way my body looked. I didn’t want to have the muscly legs I had acquired from years of dance training, I didn’t want to have hips, I just wanted to look like the girls I saw on my Instagram feed. I was looking up to women such as Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne who not only were about six inches taller than me but had a completely different and unattainable body shape to me.
I vividly remember no longer wanting to eat much and desperately trying to last a full day of school being fuelled by only carrots and hummus. I can’t remember how long this went on for and I am by no means saying I had any form of eating disorder because I know I didn’t but I had developed a disordered way of thinking about food.
I got into the dangerous mind-set that food was a punishment not the fuel to my body and my brain.
From then on, I tried crash diets in attempts to slim down for various occasions such as not eating carbs for three weeks so I’d look thin for prom without even realising that in fact I was making it harder for my body to lose any weight. As my mum told me one day by starving my body of what it needs I am in fact more likely to put on weight as it is scientifically proven that your body holds onto its fat reserves once it feels as though it is being starved of the nutrients it needs. At this point in my life I was only going to the gym to make myself lose the guilt I felt for eating something I deemed to be ‘bad’. Running on the treadmill for as long as it took to burn over three hundred calories and avoiding the weights section in the fear I’d put on muscle, the gym wasn’t an enjoyable place for me.
Flash forward three years to now and I can’t explain how different my mentality is. Nowadays the gym is my happy place and I am so thankful to my amazing housemate Anna for giving me the courage in my first year of university to get into weightlifting. Thanks to her teaching me and pointing me in the right direction I have never been more confident in the strength my body has. Despite feeling rubbish over the past month, I have never been more appreciative for how my body enables me to lift weights, run sprints and even just get out of my bed in the morning. I no longer view food as a hindrance to my progress but I recognise that my body needs it to fuel my workouts. My workout goals are no longer measured by the weight I want to lose but instead how heavy I can lift and how I am going to add more definition to my body.
It’s important to remember to work out because you love your body not because you hate it.