I’ve documented, all be it silently because no-one read it, my struggle with body image. The road to fitness back to inactivity and back again (6 babies yada yada). I firmly believe motivation for all things begins in your head, I say all things and I mean it. “If you believe you can you’re halfway there” to quote who knows how many cheesy memes and possibly half a dozen love songs. In my case this is true in everything from essay writing when I was at college (sports science degree class of 2009) to my first run of the year the day before yesterday (2.5 miles/25 Jan 2019)
Not just motivation but everything is perceived in the mind this is where reality lies, everyone constructs their reality from their experiences, their perceptions of every event are different to yours but no less valid. My experience has taught me the right mind set before any activity from that run to writing this blog can change the perception of the event and the ability to achieve it.
I hadn’t run at all in 64 days (thank you fitbit!) I’d got to a point last September (2018) where I was running up to 5 days a week and enjoying it, aforementioned 6 kids won’t/can’t follow haha! I have a dodgy knee but regular strength training, utilising the treadmill and increasing the duration of road runs slowly had seen me pain free over 10+ miles but then my Grandchildren came to stay for a few weeks while my daughter was unwell, the treadmill died and if I’m honest the weather got bad so I used the previous 2 reasons as excuses not to get out so often and suddenly 4 months have passed and I’m back to 2.5 miles. Still pain free, this should be cause for celebration but there’s nagging doubt to my ability sat on my shoulder the mindset isn’t so positive and a run I should easily manage became something else. In September I knew I could do 3 miles, I was still in the warm up, now I’m not so sure and immediately everything becomes harder.
When I first started to blog, I just wrote what I thought, the words flowed I didn’t care, I hardly ever had to pick up where I left off, finished published and got on with the day so didn’t run a critical eye over things. Because daily blogging isn’t so easy since my daughter came home with the kids, I stop and start, have to read over to know where I was going with it and the process has changed. It’s no less therapeutic but it’s different because my mind has moved on from the thoughts when I started to write the post.
I look back at life and realise if I had just spent some time being aware of my contentment or stopped in my diet and fitness goals to be happy in the place I was, not striving for the next few pounds off or miles on, I might not have been happier but I’d have been aware of my achievements. In the same way while losing weight or when the tape measure shows a decrease in size, on the way down one place is an achievement that makes you happy, the exact same weight or measurement can be cause for distress if it is in the other direction having gone beyond. We are alway moving the goal posts.
So many times we equate happiness with a certain weight, financial position or marital status but once we are there we realise the rest of life is just the same. We are not magically happy because we moved to a more suitable area or reached a goal weight. All our problems are not erased because we got married etc and yet we continue to kid ourselves that the things we fixate on are important. I look back to the most content I was with my physique and although I was impressed with what I had achieved, I was still striving for something else, something more. Now I look vastly different, not bad for my aged but certainly not where I was then and think I would be delighted to look that way. The truth is I would still be striving for more, I will only get less fit as I age. At 47 I am well past my prime but somewhere in my head I should still look how I could have looked at 27 if I had just bothered.
I am both at the same time happy to be in my late forties, with the crepey skin on my neck, smile lines and a wisdom that comes from life experiences (I do so want to rock this aging lark) and fighting with life long body dysmorphia and negative body image. I hope there comes a time where I embrace who I have become, wrinkles and all. I am definitely at a point where I train for my mental health and functional fitness not for the way I look (a start) but for now I am in constant battle with the paradox.
Happy Sunday A x