…and you’ve been kidding yourself into thinking it is.
Yup, that’s me and my rubbish health. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but it sometimes takes a certain event for reality to smack you in the face. Or in my case, the hips, shoulders, back, legs stomach and *insert any muscle group here*. It’s the frustrating realisation that the reason you can’t do the thing you want to do. The reason you’re not progressing as quickly as everyone around you. Is because you have abused your body with food and a lack of care and exercise.
I went snowboarding a couple of weeks ago.
I am 23 years old, I have all the tools aka. a functioning mind and body, to be able to do that with. But a bit like how leaving your old computer with no security settings and never deleting the things you don’t need. It’s all gone a bit t*ts up.
When you’re getting on with day to day life, doing the odd yoga pose and climbing the odd bouldering route well, you can convince yourself that you are fit. That you just don’t lose fat easily, but actually you have a lot of muscle and are technically quite strong. You saunter into that snowboard lesson with a pretty easy sense of trepidation, the amount you think you should have given you have been doing so much exercise and have much more core strength than you used to. Then bam! It hits you.
It hurts your stomach as you clip in your bindings to strap the board to your feet. Hurts your back to throw your legs over your body strapped to a snowboard to turn onto your front. It hurts your wrists and calves to push up from the floor to standing. Hurts your ankles back and lungs to walk up the small slope as you drag the snowboard behind you. It hurts your back and hips to hold your body on the toe edge of the board. Desperately willing your muscles to prevent you from falling backwards. Finally, it burns the front of your thighs, your calves and shoulders as you heel edge your way forward down the slope. Staring ahead of you towards the ‘powder’ that could render you helpless in an instant.
But I don’t actually have a problem with physical pain.
It’s the shame. The shame of not being able to do what you set out to do and it’s entirely your own fault. The anger and frustration at being the ‘fat’ one, the unfit one. The usual thoughts of ‘I don’t care what I look like to others’ and ‘I’m lucky to not be plagued by body image’. That are replaced with ‘none of that matters either way if I don’t feel good’ ‘why did I never take care of my health’ and ‘why do I not care about myself enough to do something about it’. If I can’t keep up and I can’t physically do in that moment what my mind and my pride are willing me to be able to do. Then the all too familiar feeling of guilt and disappointment in myself and my attitude creeps in.
The realisation that its going to take weeks, months years to get myself to a level of fitness and health that will allow me to enjoy this sport – if I ever can. I have always given up, (I mean obviously or I wouldn’t be where I am right now.) This sport that seems so laid back, so fun and so carefree that has forced me to reevaluate my attitude towards myself and my life.
And that’s just on the beginner’s slope.
Not the easiest thing to write publicly. But I want this out there. So when I am struggling through another exercise routine, or when I want a burger rather than a salad, I have this to read. Now I’m not saying that I will never eat anything I like again. But I’m going to think about whether it will be worth it before I do. Am I eating the burger because I will genuinely enjoy it, it’s a great restaurant and I’m socialising with friends? Or, is it at home, mindlessly eating to fill an emotional void? Being able to climb a route higher than a V3, snowboard and push my body to its limits. That will be far more rewarding than the instant gratification of junk food and sugar.
Making a change to my health
So with all that, I have decided to make a change. I will be tracking my health properly using my bullet journal and making a concerted effort to take better care of myself both (physically and mentally). I won’t jump in head first but instead do little things. I’ve compiled a list below of small changes I think will help. Please do give them a go if you are in the same boat.
Ways to make a change to you health
- Smaller portion sizes
- If you don’t actually want breakfast, don’t eat it (an interesting video on this by The Financial Diet)
- Try to only eat when hungry
- Make a ‘go to’ list of things to do, to avoid snacking out of boredom/procrastination/emotion etc.
- Move more
- Don’t watch tv whilst eating (acknowledge the food…)
- Save most treats for socialising
- Drink more water (especially before a meal)
- Drink less caffeinated tea.
- More vegetables
- Master 5 healthy recipes from ingredients likely to be in the house.
- Be confident in doing your own thing
I don’t really care what I look like in terms of physicality – at least no more than your average 23-year-old. Yes, I would like to be slimmer, but it also doesn’t make me who I am. What I really want is to feel healthy. To be able to run around, try new things and be able to keep up with my friends. I’m not dead yet after all…