I love my body. That’s the first thing I want to say. I also hate it and say mean things about it but mostly, I love it. It does all the things I ask of it. It is strong and capable. It housed three beautiful babies, birthed them and then attempted to go back to what it was before as best it could. Genetically, my body is a blessing. And I take that blessing for granted.
Around this time last year, I started training for my wedding. I wanted to feel great. Prior to beginning training, I was not feeling great. Yes, I felt I had put on some weight and yes, I was soft in places where I would have preferred to be firm but it was more than that. If my body was a car, I was running like my mum’s old Ford Telstar. Geez, that thing was a heap of shit. Forget the rough exterior, this car blew way too much smoke and was absolutely gutless on hills. It was crook from the inside out.
My body was clapped out. I could practically hear my organs groaning as I attempted to fuel them with coca-cola and highly refined carbs. My outside actually belied the crisis within. Despite my sedentary lifestyle and poor food choices, I looked okay. And therein lies the trap. As long as I don’t ‘look’ fat, it’s okay to keep mistreating myself.
It wasn’t until I finished my pre-wedding training that I realised I hadn’t looked as okay as I’d thought. Sure, my weight didn’t blow out but I was hardly an advertisement for ‘well.’ My skin was sallow, prone to breakouts. I lacked energy, felt dull.
I was 38 years old and I felt completely exhausted. I was sick and tired.
So I trained. And I felt amazing. I lost weight and my body changed externally but here’s the thing: I don’t remember ever truly enjoying that. I still looked in the mirror and thought mean thoughts. But what I do remember – and vividly - was how I felt. My energy increased. My skin cleared. My anxiety lowered. I felt motivated and in control. I felt happy.
So it’s with no small amount of disappointment that I confess I am right back where I started – although this time with an extra kilo or two. Yay me!
I made that fatal error of getting comfortable. After the wedding, I pulled back from the training a little. Just a short break, I told myself. But then when I did go back, my motivation was missing. What was I training for? I still looked pretty good. I still felt pretty great. Did I really need to kill myself with all that exercise? Slowly but surely, I fell out of my new habits. A Coke here, a week of no exercise there. And for some months, there were no outward implications. I still looked okay. My internal health was rapidly declining but once again, I allowed the superficial to fool me into thinking I was okay. And then one day you realise the balance has tipped completely the other way and now it’s all too hard, you’ve thrown it all away and you collapse into a ball of self-loathing.
In summary, I worked really hard, felt really great, slacked off, didn’t put on any weight, assumed I was a goddess who no longer needed to exercise, ate too many cheeseburgers until three months later when I realised I’d gained 4 kilos and lost my mind.
So here I go again. Beginning again….again.
But I have a new motivation. On October 6th, I will be 40 years old. It will never be easier than now to start again. With each passing year, changing my life will become that little bit harder. As I begin the second half of my life, I have to ask myself: if not now, WHEN?
So this is my 12 week transformation. Yes, I am looking forward to shedding weight and getting stronger. I know how good it feels to be strong. But this transformation is less about my body and more about my life. The self-abuse my body has endured so gracefully up until now has been down to genetic luck. But to continue down that same path is to invite illness and disease into my life and that is not how I want to spend the next 40 years. My motivation now is health. My motivation is using these 12 weeks to ingrain better habits and to remember that this is not for one particular event but for the rest of my days.
With this in mind, you won’t see me calorie-crunching or quitting sugar. The next 12 weeks are about sustainable habits. Life habits. I’m going to be checking in each week with an update about how I’m going. I’ll share my successes as well as my slip-ups and anything else I learn along the way.
For accountability and with the hope of looking back in 12 weeks and seeing changes, I’m also sharing pictures of me in my knickers. Naturally, this is deeply embarrassing so I’ve rotated the knickers photos with one of me as a sexy pirate. Ah har!
Wish me luck.