My True Story #No29
“It’s still a bit of a rollercoaster mentally. Social media can be extremely overwhelming with so called ‘fit-spo’ which can have such a negative impact on mental health and body image. It’s a work in progress accepting that there is no specific image for strong, fit and healthy...” SJ
“There was a time when I wouldn’t step foot in a gym. There was also a time when I could squat 85kg because I did step into a gym. Then there is the time when my fitness took a plunge, I hit an all-time low and developed low confidence and body issues. I fell out with exercise, my yoga sessions dwindled and I point blank refused to climb because I felt too ‘big’. I don’t know what happened or how. All I know is that I became extremely unhappy with myself.
From time to time I had this ‘I can’t’ attitude but it became my constant. I can’t lose weight. I can’t exercise. I can’t do something new. Clothes became baggy to hide what was underneath. I never felt good about my appearance, even when dressing up nice.
My external happiness felt forced. Inside I felt judged. Judged by the younger fitter girls. Judged by social media and judged by society as a whole. It’s hard to pull yourself out of self-loathing when all you see over social media is this perfect portrayal of bodies and fitness.
The pounds continued to increase and as they did, my confidence plummeted. I knew exercise and healthy balanced eating would help, I had achieved it before so surely I could again. When months of what I called ‘being good’ didn’t have the desired effect I started to wonder what else I could possibly do. What was it that was holding me back? Why couldn’t I try new things? Why couldn’t I keep a regular fitness regime? Somehow I had to find my own way. I had to regain some of the confidence I’d lost.
Finding the ‘Wellity’ website and reading about what Molly, Joe and Phoebe had created and achieved, inspired me. It’s hard to describe how or why, but they just kind of kicked me up the butt! I removed the so called ‘influencers’ from my social media and replaced them with real life people who I could resonate with. Those who taught me that its ok I’d gained a few pounds. Those who taught me that being fit and healthy didn’t necessarily mean I had to be uber slim with muscles. I could be strong and healthy in other ways. I tried to develop a more ‘I can’ attitude instead of my autopilot of ‘I can’t’ – if the Wellity gang could do anything they put their minds to then why couldn’t I?
So I bought a skateboard.
Yes I know this may not seem like a big deal, but I’m 35 and learning new things as an adult seems to be way more scary. Skateboarding is definitely new to me! I just wanted to try something different and fun.
I’m also afraid of my head being submerged, so I faced my fears and got in the sea. On a paddleboard. Then I tried a bit of surfing. They are all things that are still new to me, but trying was so much fun. However, involved with this was wearing a wetsuit. Another hurdle. I had always put off wearing a wetsuit, walking on the beach in something so unflattering and skin tight scared the hell out of me. I’d been so worried and self-conscious that I put off trying new things. But I faced it head on and owned it in my wetsuit.
Trying new things helps you develop a different level of inner confidence. On the back of all this, I started a 12 week home training session and although I personally still see no external changes, knowing my body is getting stronger is helping my mind get stronger and helping to improve my ‘I can’t’ attitude.
It’s still a bit of a rollercoaster mentally. Social media can be extremely overwhelming with so called ‘fit-spo’ which can have such a negative impact on mental health and body image. It’s a work in progress accepting that there is no specific image for strong, fit and healthy. I’m learning that being active and trying new things is key to helping me accept who I am and what my body can do.
My journey is ongoing and I accept it always will be. But it will be a journey full of fun, laughter, pushing the comfort zone, trying new things and hopefully no broken bones from skateboarding! I wonder what will be next……..?” - Sarah Jayne