It’s been a while since my last blog post but I have been so busy recently and haven’t had the time to properly sit down and dedicate the time that this blog deserves. I never want to write half hearted posts for the sake of writing them which sound like they have been written in about 10 minutes. I am such a perfectionist and that definitely wouldn’t sit well with me!
The topic of today’s blog I feel is really important and something which a lot of people don’t talk about enough. I have always felt like I am second best to everyone around me. Not in the sense of being ignored or not being put first, but in terms of how I look and feel. I am surrounded by beautiful friends and family and without them I truly would be nothing, but it’s sometimes hard too when being surrounded by such amazing people. I have always been on the larger side when it comes to my weight. It’s something I’ve always battled with and probably always will. It’s something which never used to bother me because half the time I would be too busy to even notice how much weight I was putting on. It’s only recently that I started to notice the effects that this was having on me. I could barely walk up the stairs without getting out of breath, I was tired ALL the time (although part of that is to do with suspected anaemia), and I just felt rubbish in general.
Being surrounded by people who have figures I would DIE for made me very insecure and I started to find myself becoming slowly more and more insecure to the point where I’d just break down and cry over it for no reason. This was no one’s fault, and by no means am I shaming anyone, it’s just my own insecurities that got in the way.
After many long chats with my mum and re-evaluating how I had been feeling, I decided enough was enough and I needed to do something about the way I felt. I decided to start going to the gym in January of this year and I was finding it so tough to begin with. I could barely lift any weights, I could run for about 10 seconds on the treadmill and I couldn’t even manage a couple of minutes on the cross-trainer. I started to feel my frustration coming back. I was annoyed I couldn’t complete anything to the level I wanted to and it was really getting me down. Many times over the first couple of weeks of going to the gym I wanted to give up. I told myself I was never going to improve and the whole idea of getting fit was hopeless.
I realised after I had been to the gym some weeks later that I was gaining strength, slowly but surely I was managing to lift heavier weights and go for longer on the cardio type machines. I remember when I managed to get to half an hour on the cross-trainer I snapchatted a lot of my friends and messaged my mum like “I did it!!”, because I had promised myself and her that I was going to work up to half an hour, even if it took me a while. I left the gym that day feeling revitalised, I had restored faith in myself and my ability and decided I couldn’t give up. These changes meant that I was improving my fitness levels and it was giving me the motivation I needed at that time. I realised I couldn’t stop because I needed this for ME.
I’m such a worrier and over-thinker and everyone around me knows I care way too much about what other people think. I have, at times, thought way too much into situations that I have ended up crying or turning off my phone for the day just to avoid talking to anyone. I admit this isn’t the healthiest way of dealing with stuff like that but hey we all have our own ways of dealing with situations. I got too caught up in what I looked like and how much I hated it rather than thinking about how I could change my body. All I noticed were my stretch marks, my double chin, my big thighs and my big stomach. This really used to affect me to the point I didn’t want to do anything or go out because I was so ashamed of how I looked. But then I decided enough was enough and realised if I didn’t make changes soon it could potentially have a really detrimental impact on me.
Every time I used to walk into the gym (and still now) I used to think that everyone was staring at me, and when I was doing my workouts I used to look around to see how many people were looking at me. Of course, no one was really looking, they were all getting on with their own workouts. But for someone like me who is very insecure, the gym is a scary place. You see all the muscly men who have rippling abs and the women who are so toned it made me look like a ball of dough waddling through the gym. This made me really insecure once again and I found myself losing motivation slowly. I’d make excuses to myself as to why I couldn’t go and this was then getting me down because I felt rubbish when I didn’t go. It felt like a lose-lose battle and there was no way out. My own thoughts were once again getting in the way and I had no way of stopping it.
I managed to pick up motivation again after that by telling myself I needed this, and told myself that no change comes without hard work. After all, if you want results, you need to go out and work for it. I was really doing well at maintaining my fitness. However, recently due to personal events I have lost all motivation and self esteem and feel like I’ve gone straight back to square one again. I was looking in the mirror hating the way I looked, I was pinching the fat and extra skin on my face and body and wishing it wasn’t there and I was losing track of my healthy eating. Everything felt rubbish and I had no motivation to continue going to the gym.
That all changed when I had my university end of term ‘summer ball’ recently. It was such a great time surrounded by my best friends. I hadn’t seen most of them for at least 4 months and so it was so lovely to be surrounded by them again. We danced, partied, drank, and took loads of photos. I was so happy to be around my friends that weekend that I had felt the best I had felt for a long time, and it was a welcome distraction from everything that’s been going on.
The next day I was looking through the photos to upload to social media and I found one I wanted to upload. I was stood in the middle of two of my friends and we were all smiling at the camera. The funny thing is we took an identical photo the year before at the last summer ball we went to, so I decided to put them both side to side to show my friends how we hadn’t changed one bit. It was only when I found the one from the previous year that I noticed I had changed. Not looks wise, but I could see that I had lost weight in my face. I zoomed in on the photos of me and placed them side by side. I was so shocked because I can never tell I have lost weight/gained muscle etc because I am always around myself – that sounds stupid but I am always looking in the mirror when I brush my hair or whatever so I don’t really notice the changes. It was only when I compared these two photos that I realised that my efforts had paid off. It’s not a massive change and people probably think I’m crazy, but to me that meant the world. After all, I had lost weight and managed to keep it off. In total, I’ve lost about 10lbs since I started this fitness journey and I aim to continue it. I have been lazy recently and haven’t been to the gym in ages, but I’m slowly managing to get my motivation back.
I know this post is so long and there may not seem like there’s a point to it, but I wanted to write it to be honest about my journey. It’s not easy and 99% of the time I feel rubbish about myself. I get frustrated very easily when I don’t make progress/lose more weight because I am so set on being the best version of me that it just annoys me when I don’t reach it sooner. Sometimes it takes something like this to give us all the motivation we need to continue fighting/aiming for our goals/dreams. My message to anyone kind enough to have read all the way to the bottom of my post is THANK YOU. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read what I have to say. I really hope it has inspired you/motivated you to do something you want to do. Just know that if you’re going through a hard time, it will always get better. There is no rain without sunshine, and the dark days don’t last forever.
If you’re like me and simply lacking motivation then I say go out there and kick ass, only you can be the best version of yourself and only you can make the changes you want to see. It’s bloody hard and it sucks when you feel like you’re not good enough but I believe in you. You’ve got this. If I can do it, so can you.
Lastly, I know so many people out there suffer from low self esteem but many don’t like to talk about it, and that’s fine. It’s a very personal and sensitive issue and it’s fine to not want to talk about it. Many of us feel like we have to maintain a brave face or a façade and not show how we’re really feeling. Just know, it’s okay to have days where you don’t feel 100% happy with yourself, or with your life. You are only human and the constant bombardment of beautiful and toned fitness models on social media or celebrities who seem to be living their ‘best lives’ can really affect us without us realising. We end up comparing ourselves to them, whether we want to be as toned, as rich or as happy as they do, we all do it and we don’t always realise the impact it’s having on us. I just want you to know that not everyone’s lives are as great as they seem, remember, social media will only portray a small part of someone’s life, and 99% of the time it’s only the happy/positive things. No one wants to bombard their followers with negativity, there’s enough of that in the world at the moment anyway! But remember that low self esteem is something we all suffer with, whether that’s daily or just every so often. Either way, you are still loved, still so beautiful and still such a wonderful person, and it will get better. Think about making changes if you’re not happy with yourself/your body/your life, and see how they make you feel. I for one know that if I hadn’t started going to the gym, I’d still be looking at myself everyday hating my body. It was only when I started making changes that it improved my mental state dramatically. I believe that everyone is beautiful no matter what size/shape/ethnicity/sexuality etc, we are all beautiful in our own way. It would be a boring world if we all looked the same!
I know people, especially young people/girls are made to feel like they have to look a certain way in order to be desired/liked. We hear so much about how unless you’re a size 0 you won’t be let into love island or how unless you have fake everything then you won’t be put in music videos or be successful etc. Songs even promote a certain image. But there are songs out there like Jessie J’s song “Queen” who tell women to stop hating themselves and start loving themselves more. Tells them to stop listening to the bullshit that media feeds us and start to embrace your body. Media is definitely great for so many reasons but is also so toxic too. Just know that just because you don’t look a certain way it doesn’t make you any less beautiful. Everyone is unique and special in their own way. You just have to realise what makes you special. I’ve always found that sometimes just listing 3 things I like about myself or 3 things I’ve done one day which made me feel good really help improve my mental state. It’s amazing what a kind word can do. Sometimes people say something to me and it’ll stick with me for days, months, even years. The smallest compliment can mean so much to someone. That’s why I always try and build others up because I know exactly how it feels when you get a kind message from someone. It gives you that extra kick up the bum you didn’t know you needed.
I am so grateful to be surrounded by such amazing friends and family and I will never take any of them for granted. If any of them are reading this I just want to say I love you. You are truly my favourite people in the world and I don’t know what I’d do without you.
I guess what I want people to take away from this is that things do get better, negative thoughts don’t last forever, and sometimes things like the photo comparison which happened to me can really be the kickstarter you need to carry on achieving your goals. We are all human, and we are all entitled to feel like we’re not good enough. It’s how we deal with it that makes us amazing. Make changes for YOU. Do what makes YOU happy. And don’t let anyone else tell you that your feelings are invalid. Emotions and negative thoughts are shit sometimes, but we can all overcome them with the right changes, and it will get better. I PROMISE. Go out there and do something wonderful, I promise you’ll feel much better for it.
Thanks so much for sticking with this blog post, and I really hope you enjoyed reading.
I’ll be back soon, sending all my love to anyone who may need it right now.
P.s: “It’s okay not to be okay” – Jessie J