CW: weight and fitness stuff
I hereby wish to announce that I’m running again. Well. I’m trying. At the moment it’s more like 2 minutes at a time. But it’s still official.
It’s a complicated thing, the ol’ wellness journey. Sometimes you just get to a point wanna make changes. You wanna take better care of yourself. But you don’t wanna be an arse about it either, do you? There’s nothing more eye-roillingly-insuffrable than a health-convert. I don’t blame these people. This stuff is intoxicating. It’s like a religion, except better because it gives you more energy and makes your jeans fit better. But it’s a fine-line, a slippery slope, because what starts off as good intentions can rapidly turn into Sunday evening instagram posts showing line upon line of plastic boxes with your #ketolife week of meals full of #leanprotein cos #heathyisyum and that’s the #ketogal #fitspo life y’know.
I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be a dick. I just want to be me. Who feels good.
I ran in the past. About 10 years ago I went from zero to a half marathon in the space of 6 months. So I know I can do it. But back then my motives weren’t good. My motives, back then, were:
1. get thin
2. make someone love me
Well…turns out if you do suddenly start running 50km a week whilst eating only 700 calories a day, you will get very thin, very fast. So we can count that as a result, I guess?
As for the love thing, not so much. Turns out that when someone says they’ll love you more when you become ‘less fat’ it’s not really about the fat at all. I mean, it is. But it’s a cover for them actually just being an asshole and the best weight you can lose in that instance is the 70kg of dead-weight in their form of a partner that you’re emotionally carrying. So whilst I might have dropped 30kg, it took a few more years before I dropped the weight that I actually needed to. Note to self – don’t do that again.
So running, it’s a bit of a anxiety-ridden, and complicated, subject for me, for these reasons. Loaded with fear that I’ll slip back into old, unhealthy, habits. And loaded with emotional scarring of insecurity and self-loathing.
Then a couple of weeks back, around the time of my like-clockwork, birthday identity crisis, feeling a little lost and sad, I remembered the good things about running, the side effects that I experienced back when I used to do it – a sense of freedom, mental focus, and tranquility. All are very good things, but things that I’m pained to admit that are benefits of exercise.
See, I still tell myself that don’t like exercise. That I don’t need it. In my head I’m still the chubby kid at school getting picked last in P.E. And being close to tears cos I can’t do a backwards roll and everyone is looking at me saying ‘go on, it’s not that hard’.
So I’m loathed to admit that the ‘healthy’ people are right. That exercise does feel good. That it’s not just about size or thinness. That it can help your mental health and give you more energy (which seems so backwards and fucked up, how is it the opposite to what you think?). But here we go – I think they’re right. And that is what I need right now. Admitting this feels like a really big step.
Which brings me to the here-and-now. I am running again. I’ve tried to pick it up again in the past, but in my usual style, it’s been a very go-for-broke approach of ‘immediately expect to run for 30 minutes and try three times before quitting in a rage’. So this time, I’m doing it in a sensible, controlled, scientific method (ha, science! What a revelation!) – I’m following the C25k programme.
C25k. Couch to 5km in nine weeks. It’s interval training, alternating between running and walking starting at 90 seconds of each on week one, and gradually working upwards over the programme, of three sessions a week.
I have just completed week two. I’m posting each session on my instagram stories to keep me accountable. Not that any of my followers would call me out on my bullshit if I quit, cos they’re all so lovely, kind and supportive. But it’s for me. Doing so makes ME accountable.
And that’s the key this time. I do want to be accountable, and I do want to be challenged, but only for myself.
Last time I ran, I wanted validation and accountability from other people. I only cared about their approval. I wanted them to notice and tell me that they were impressed, that I was looking skinny and that they were proud of, and loved, me.
This time I give a shit about other people. I don’t care what they think. I don’t care what my body looks like, either during the runs, or afterwards as a consequence. And I don’t care if anyone knows or is proud. I’ve grown up enough in these last ten years to realise that every is too busy with their own lives, their own stresses, anxieties and problems to really care what you’re up to. And when you realise that, it’s a really liberating thing.
This time around I just want to be proud of me. This time around it’s about wellness, not weight. I want it to be a part of a bigger picture – a tool to help me unlock other areas of my life that I care about more – mental health, happiness, creativity, clarity, purpose and energy.
This time I am doing this for me and only me. And that matters.
So I’m telling you about it because I am proud of myself for being here.
I’m telling you because it keeps me accountable to myself.
And my putting these words out, I hope it’ll reduce the risk of slipping back into old, toxic, thought patterns and habits.
I really hope I get to the 5km. I have this daydream of myself running though the blossom trees in Hayley Park come Spring. And I’m enjoying it. I really hope I get there. But if I don’t, that’s okay too. It’s all part of the journey, isn’t it?