Let’s start with a little story about my own weight and fitness.
Looking back, I was a slim teenager. I thought I was a heffa because I had big ol’ melons (my first ever bra was a B cup and I was a DD aged 15), and I towered over my petite school friends. I feared bread and felt guilty when I ate my mum’s delicious homemade cakes, despite doing after school sports clubs a few times a week, playing netball every weekend and, you know, being a kid. Nutter.
Fast forward to aged 17, when I moved to Devon and discovered a truly fantastic bakery near my new sixth form that sold cheese and onion pasties the size of my head for £1.50. Needless to say, that slim phase was long gone. Fast forward two years and I’m well into the swing of uni, drinking four nights out of seven, demolishing a large Domino’s like it was quick bite to eat, and binging on biscuits and ice cream from the Spar underneath my halls because freshers, innit.
It wasn’t til the end of my first year at uni when I saw some horrific photos of me squeezed into a pinstriped bodycon dress (fashionista til I die), that I realised something needed to change. At my biggest, I cried in a Topshop changing room because I couldn’t fit into a size 16 pair of jeans.
That following summer, I bought myself a new pair of trainers (the very same pair you can see in the above photo!) and signed up for Results With Lucy, an online subscription service that had lots of different types of workout videos that were all under half an hour. This was my first taste of HIIT – high intensity interval training. That, teamed with an alcohol and takeaway ban, meant I shed 22 pounds (1 stone 10 pounds) in two months.
My relationship with health and fitness has changed since then – with lots of peaks and a hell of a lot of troughs – and it’s developed in an even more positive way most recently, which is what inspired me to write this post.
I’ve realised health and fitness is an unofficial club anyone can join. I think a lot of people (including myself until more recently) get caught up on what they see on Instagram, like that they must have defined abs because everyone on social media seems to have them these days. That’s just not the case. Instagram isn’t always real, too – Photoshop is a beautiful, and ugly, thing.
My point is that you don’t need to look like fitness bloggers and personal trainers to look brilliant, or workout five times a week to be deemed as dedicated. It’s these people’s jobs to have the tightest tushes and bulging biceps, but for 99% of us with full time jobs as well as other commitments, we should give ourselves a pat on the back for that spinning class we squeeze in or that half an hour run we sweat out. And if you eat that bag of Minstrels later that evening? Ah well, you’re only human.
My own little fitness struggle at present is running. The love/hate relationship is so damn real: When I’ve had a crappy day or I’m pissed off, I love it. I finish, sweating my nuts off, but feeling like all my stresses have buggered off. Other days, like my last run, I bloody hate it. I couldn’t get into a rhythm, I got a stitch half a mile in, and I literally could not wait to get home and be horizontal.
Exercising is like that, though. Everyone has off days, but the rewards will come through in the end. I hope, at least, because I’m doing the 10-mile Great South Run in October and I’m wheezing through my three-mile jollies right now!
You could want to perfect a certain yoga pose, or complete three unassisted pull-ups. I’m no personal trainer that’s for sure, but I know fitness is all about being the best version of you so you can lead a long and healthy life. And remember, you don’t need an eight-pack to be beautiful. Don’t worry about what you see on social media and get into your own little health and happiness bubble – you can do it!!