One of the things that I have been surprised by and have learnt on my weight loss journey, is that I really enjoy being fit and healthy. That may sound a bit strange, as after all one of my main reasons for losing weight was to feel better and healthier – however I had genuinely forgotten just how much I really do enjoy physical activity, particularly outdoor pursuits.
Over the last four years I have spent quite a lot of time rediscovering myself again and in particular my love of being active.
When I was overweight, exercise had become a ‘dirty’ word and one never to be mentioned out loud. Even the mere thought would have been enough to put me in a cold sweat!
My experience of exercise during this period of my life, was mainly that it was blooming hard work, which gave me little reward and made me feel like rubbish.
To be honest at times exercise was just plain intimidating, which left me feeling absolutely out of breath, sweaty and on the verge of collapse – whilst others were merely warming up. It made me feel very self conscious, that all eyes were on me and people were judging my obvious lack of prowess. It really was enough to make me shy away from exercise groups or gyms and led me to going it alone…
Of course having the motivation, time and inclination to do exercise dvd’s on my own at the end of a hard working day was short lived and provided me with no stimulation or incentive to keep it going.
Exercise generally made me feel self conscious, uncomfortable and even taking the shortest of walks was a beginning to be a challenge. I would be noticeably out of breath and slower than companions. My joints and back would ache, after relatively short periods of time and instead of enjoying the lovely views or points of interest, I was dreading the event before it actually took place and mentally counting the amount of time I had left to endure it… When it would end!
In short, my experiences of exercise whilst being over weight, really stripped away my confidence and left me feeling that it just wasn’t for me – I was after all built for comfort not for speed, the deluxe version with the added extras – or so I kept telling myself…
Of course this was totally untrue in any sense of the word, as I was as far away from being or feeling ‘deluxe’ in any version! And to be honest it became a very hollow self-loathing ‘go to’ retort.
When I was a teenager and child, the reverse was actually true. I loved activity. I used to dance, cycle, walk for miles, ride horses, play rugby (yes rugby). I even remember doing the Jane Fonda workouts in my friends sitting room quite often.
This last four years have given me the confidence to rediscover all the things I really loved about activity and gave me the opportunity to try things I’d never even considered before.
Like Kayaking, I never believe I would be able to squeeze my self into something so small and stay afloat! And long distance walking, for me even walking up my small flight of stairs was something to avoid.
Losing weight was the catalyst for having the hope, courage and energy to try a bit of activity. I found that I was now jogging up the stairs, not laboring. I could walk the dog for longer walks and walk up small hills without being out of breath.
After losing just four stone out of the 15.7stone I’ve lost, I could ride a bike again and completed a 20 mile cycle raising money for the local hospice in the process. All these small steps added up to great big ones and soon I was really wanting to ‘push the boat out’ quite literally, by taking up kayaking, which was challenging in more than just fitting into the small vessel, as I am really worried about getting out in one piece and being upside down underwater…
Completing the Lochness Etape in April 2018 was just a phenomenal feeling and mile stone, I didn’t do the 67 miles in record time, but I did it! which is light years away from the old me, who would never even have dared to dream about giving it a go!
When I say to people that I haven’t lost weight, I have actually gained a life back, few can imagine what I mean or what it does actually mean to me and my family, who have also gained an active, confident and willing parent or partner.
Too many years have drifted by, where I was trapped within my body’s limitations and the suffocating weight of lack of self esteem or confidence to give things a go.
Now I look for new opportunities and challenges and love to see how far I can push myself, which was one of my great fears in the past, to actually push myself. It’s astonishing to me now that I once believed I couldn’t do ‘it’ or something terrible would happen to me if I did – over the years I had convinced myself it was in my best interest to just give so many things ‘a miss’.
Life is good and really is for living – we enjoy as much as we can, as often as we can. Activity has become an integral part of our lives and I can safely say that I really can never see a time, when I become inactive again or slip back into my old unhealthy habits.
My biggest regret is that I feel I’ve lost so many years to obesity and the trappings that come with it- and one of my biggest motivations for writing this blog and being a slimming world consultant, is to help as many people as I can to take that first important step to a healthier, happier and more active future.
I hope you have found this article interesting and if you are experiencing some of the things that I have spoke about, have taken something useful away that will help you on your own Journey back to your amazing life.
Believe me it really is worth the effort, go for it!
Good Luck and all the best for the new year.