Today I find myself with an unusually clear day. It's a gorgeous, sunny, fresh morning but instead of strapping on my boots and getting outdoors with the dog I've wallowed in social media for the last hour. Tea, toast and slippers - ROCK STAR.
My period is due in the next day or two and as such I'm feeling irritable, bloated and lethargic. What else would I do on a morning like this but look at posts of people doing fun, energetic, healthy and active things! IDIOT! Now I feel even more pants. Why do we do it?! But actually, it served as a damn good reminder for me!
One of the things I talk about most with my team, new and existing, is what they think they should look like. I get it - I went through it too. I still do if I allow my mindset to wander. Who wouldn't! Glossy magazines with tanned, lithe women and men on them. Posts on Instagram with the latest gym wear being sported at a jaunty angle stating, 'booty gains on point'. Essentially showing a photo of their bum - their 20 year old, pert bum in lycra. Prompting me to nearly dislocate my neck as I try and recreate their pose, grabbing hold of my ass with both hands and shouting, 'lift, LIFT goddammit!' Somewhere in my minds eye, my ass crashes to the floor when I let go too.
Why on earth do we put ourselves through it?!
I experienced the highs and lows of a journey not all that long ago. I have struggled with my weight for the majority of my adult life. Yo yoing from happy to hippo every few years and burning money on the next 'transformational' diet. I've done them ALL!! Things only changed when I started lifting up weights and training with purpose! I was eating, all the time - but healthy, nutritious foods! I no longer binged on pizza, chocolate and wine and I trained consistently.
The first thing I noticed was the flippant remarks from 'friends'. 'You're not going to the gym, AGAIN are you?' 'Christ, you're such a fitness bore!' 'It's ridiculous, you're going to make yourself ill!' 'Who wants muscles anyway - you'll look like a bloke!' 'Oh, I'd much rather have the pizza and then just not eat for a day! Life's too short!'
Read that last one again….
The irony that statement is wrapped up in is just too much! Life IS too short, that's kind of the POINT! I want longevity, and to be fit and healthy in to my years to come! Oh, and because I work hard on myself I CAN have the pizza if I want to. I just CHOOSE not to right now.
I found myself defending my new found love of health and fitness. Actually lying about where I was going rather than reveal it was to the gym. And worse, once I'd managed to shift all of the weight - feeling judged for the way I looked even more. 'Yeah, I guess you look OK - bit on the skinny side if you ask me.' 'Yeah, but the muscles make you look blokey - you won't get yourself a bloke like that' I was actually excluded from events too. Just little things but fun things like girly nights where you'd just throw caution to the wind, eat crappy food and drink too much! But it hurt. I was still me, just a leaner stronger me. It just didn't make sense.
4 years on and with the benefit of growth and hindsight, I see it now for what it was. It's one of the reasons I'm so passionate about self love and self compassion. Once we are happy with ourselves, we can celebrate others happiness. Jealously, insecurity, lack of self confidence are all too prevalent these days. We expend so much energy on looking at others and wishing we could be more like them! Feeling bad about ourselves and placing the blame on external forces beyond our control. Criticising ourselves and allowing that internal narrative to take over! It's our worst critic and sadly the one we hear the most! When the reality is we know nothing about their journey, what they've been through, their inner struggles and battles just as they know nothing about ours.
When we change our focus to one of celebration, collaboration and empowerment good things happen! Stop comparing ourselves to others and start to believe in ourselves, first. Trust that we can be the best version of whatever we choose to be. That we are each unique, beautiful humans. Believe in our own journey and work hard on that every day. Reach your goals and shout from the roof tops about it, equally shouting loud and proud for friends achieving their goals or starting their journey. It's a wonderful feeling.
Try it. It's a far better place than scowling at IG posts while slurping tea and angrily tearing at toast with crumbs tumbling on to my slippers… Yep, me this morning. Right, kick up the bum administered. I'm off to walk my furry little friend and take delight in the glorious day out there.
Whoever you are, and wherever you are in your journey hear this:
'You are AMAZING. You have GOT this. I BELIEVE in you.'