because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Friday, 4 April 2014

A note about being strong and sexy

When I said that I wanted to shed 38 pounds and train for a 10k race, it was so that I could reclaim my body -- how I relate to my form, how I feel about myself. I declared want for STRONG and SEXY, because after finding myself on the obese section of my doctor’s BMI chart, I realised, with the kind of startling clarity that stings at the eyes and aches the throat, that I was treating my body like utter shite. And, suddenly, that was not okay. I wasn’t even sure if I liked my body any more. If I did, surely I’d be treating it better than scoffing enough calories a day to balloon to a UK dress size 16.

Eleven and a half weeks ago I weighed 181 pounds – 12 stones 9lbs, or 82+ kilos. Today I weigh 145 pounds: 5 pounds off of my target weight, and a healthy BMI, but 35 pounds better off than I was. Last weekend I tried on a series of size 8-10 clothes and squealed at the tightness of my waist, the gentle slope of my hips. I got changed in front of my bedroom mirror – the same mirror where I have bared my belly and thighs to measure every week’s loss, photographing my changing silhouette to document, honestly, what hard goddamnwork looks like – and marvelled.

Internet, I have no shame in telling you that I feel so amazing, so proud, so fucking well, that I basically want to be naked all the time because shit the motherfucking bed: my body is incredible.

Cutting wheat, dairy, sugar, and essentially all pleasure from my diet was a killer – but so necessary for me, for how my brain works. I’m all or nothing, baby, and I needed a drastic regime to snap me out of the (quite frankly terrifying) habits I’d made my own.

Day on day on day fat has melted away, and day on day on day I have cultivated an exercise habit to support that. I could’ve simply dieted, but that didn’t seem right to me. Dieting seemed to be a sort of punishment, a denial of something because I was fat, and so didn’t “deserve” to eat my favourite things.

Complementing dieting with training, though – oh my. That’s the trick. That’s been the magical key that unlocked the door to coming to accept my body as my friend. Best friend.

I started training for my 10k with an app called Couch to 10k. Three times a week I plodded out in the January cold to walk a minute, run a minute, building up my stamina one painful step at a time until within the month I was running for ten or twelve minutes a go. That’s an improvement on my previous fitness by about 576%.

As my running time got longer, I noticed my body felt tighter – a bit like a dirty dishcloth that needs wringing out. As part of my January reflections, I resolved to try yoga once a week for four weeks, to see if it helped me “stretch out” some.

That decision was one of the smartest choices I’ve ever deliberately made.

Yoga was a revelation. My shrinking frame was able to contort into surprisingly nimble position, and right from my first session I had a renewed appreciation for what my body could do. Loosening those muscles meant running felt better, so I stuck with yoga, and because I stuck with it I started to get a little bit stronger. Then whadaya know? A stronger body is able to run harder and faster, and so a month later I was running for 30 minutes at a time, easily. My body felt cared for, looked after, and I looked forward to those 30-minute sessions so much that I shifted up a gear to train 4 times a week. It felt too good not to.

This past month I joined the gym and challenged myself to working out 20 days out of 30, forcing exercise into my routine, even going as far as scheduling in workouts into my diary, promising myself that they were non-negotiable plans. I’ve continued with my diet, committed to putting my own health as a priority, and now I’m staring what feels like the most exciting weekend of my life square in the face.

Tomorrow, I am running in my first ever 10k race – a date that seemed so far off when I booked my spot three months ago. But I’m strong, and I can do it. On Sunday, I am being photographed naked, because now I feel sexy, and I can do it.

Making the decision to change my life was almost as hard as executing it <<Tweet This>>

But by god, was the hard work worth it.

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