Last year when I noticed that I had gained enough weight to push me up two dress sizes, the thing that was most devastating was how much it affected my self esteem. In the space of about two minutes I had gone from being totally content with the soft state of my body to disgusted at myself for letting it change in such a short space of time and focussed solely on weight loss.
Despite my war cries about body positivity and loving all your curves, edges and squiggles, I had accidentally become attached to the idea of my ideal weight. It made me put on my Carrie-Bradshaw’s-overused-rhetorical-question hat and ask… why is it so hard to love yourself?
If one of my friends were to say something disparaging about their body I would be quick to counter with enough compliments to boost their self esteem back up to capacity, but for some reason I wasn’t capable of extending this same courtesy to myself. After researching various workout options that promised to burn my fat and deliver a thigh gap to my jiggly legs I had a realisation…
My weight gain wasn’t the problem.
It wasn’t something that needed a crash diet or dangerous workout routine to eradicate.
The weight I had gained was a symptom of my lifestyle – or more importantly, the negative aspects of my lifestyle that I had let get out of control.
It turns out that if you drop most of the exercise from your life and still continue to eat the same old crap you’re going to gain some weight. It is how your body works. I might have blamed the change in my body on the mythical properties of my black jeans (which if I’m being honest, more closely resembled leggings than actual denim), but the fact of the matter was that I hadn’t broken a sweat in at least 3 months.
And that was my problem.
I had seen myself naked. Hell, I had danced naked in front of a mirror (long story, alright?) and I wasn’t repulsed by the sight of my jiggling bits. So why should I suddenly feel bad about it?
I didn’t want to be fat shamed into exercising.
While weight gain might have been the instigator, I didn’t want it to be the only thing I was concerned about. To be honest, if my weight and body shape didn’t change at all but I was able carry my shopping home from the supermarket without stopping every couple of metres or run a short distance to make my train without struggling to breathe for the next hour then that would be just fine with me.
I realised it was time to change the conversation about weight loss.
The reality is that our weight will fluctuate throughout our lives and we need to stop fixating on the number on the scale.
My fitness goals for this year are just that – for fitness.
In broad terms, I want to get stronger, faster and more flexible.
To be more specific…
I want to be able to do at least 3 push ups.
To be able to run a lap around my local park without stopping.
I want to be able to comfortably touch my toes.
These goals might seem super easy, but for me and my current fitness levels it feels like a marathon.
It might seem like I’m taking baby steps, but rest assured these steps are steady. I’m starting to make changes that I should be able to maintain for the rest of my life.
Most importantly, I’m taking the focus off weight loss and removing it from my equation for happiness.
I’m working towards a stronger, fitter future.
Jiggly thighs or no jiggly thighs.
Note: Image is most definitely not of me, but is by photographer Matthew Kane