I’ve exercised in some shape or form my entire life. From the age of 3, I started ballet for 10 years. I think this taught me discipline and also body awareness (which is super helpful for posture and knowing how to engage the right muscles). I then did team sports all throughout high school, and still play a very social game of touch once a week to this day. I really love training and moving my body, however I haven’t always exercise out of love and respect for myself.
I remember the first time I felt like I had to lose weight. It was after I went on exchange for 2 and a half months to Germany. This was the first time I was away from my family for an extended period of time. It was also cold, I had lots of free time and exercise just wasn't really a thing in the village I lived in. The bakery became my comfort place and whenever I felt uncomfortable thats where I would find myself. What better then to stuff your face with hot, soft and fresh bread rolls and pastries?
Upon returning I felt like a whale. In my mind I took up way too much space, I was bursting out of my clothes and no one would like my new, larger appearance. In hindsight I’m pretty sure I only gained about 5kgs, which isn’t really that much. But before that I had always been small and very active. So I went with my mum to the gym for the first time. All I did was ran on the treadmill for a FULL SOLID HOUR. Can you believe it? I literally don’t think I will ever do that again in my life.
That marked the start of me thinking I needed to do excessive amounts of cardio to lose weight. I’m not really sure why I thought that was my only option. I suppose as a young teenage girl, we weren’t given many other options. I was desperate to lose weight to be more popular. I thought the skinner I was the more people would like me, listen to me and find me funny and cool. The thing was though, the harder I tried to lose weight the more I felt like a failure. I was constantly exhausted, hungry and tired. I recused socially even more (completely opposite to what I wanted to happen) putting up a facade to pretend I was ok. My anxiety and self doubt sky rocketed to a whole new level.
This is just the start of my story. Thank sweet baby Jesus I don’t use exercise as a tool to try make myself seem cooler or more popular. I’ve figured out a much more satisfying way to exercise, one that makes me feel good regardless of what other people think. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not immune to what other peoples think of me, and I still sometimes care way to much about their opinions. But now I am more equipped than ever before to deal with these, by investing time and energy into getting to know myself better and becoming more comfortable as each day goes on in my own skin.