Last week I told you about an event I attended as part of Uni Girls Can where I heard the story of five truly inspirational and dedicated women in sport. This prompted me to reflect on my changing attitudes towards exercise and about what I want to achieve. This week I turn 24 and I’ve set myself some goals I’d like to achieve over the next year before I turn a quarter of a century. *sob*
This Girl Can – a campaign launched by Sport England in January 2015 was the first sporting campaign which truly ever resonated with me.The nationwide campaign ‘aims to get women and girls moving, regardless of shape, size and ability’. The campaign came about after research showed 75% of women aged 14-40 wanted to become more active but feared judgement on their appearance and ability.
For the first time I could identify a part of myself with those women on the television running, swimming and dancing, getting hot, bothered and quite frankly not bothered. Here I’ve picked out my favourite mantras.
1) I jiggle therefore I am.
As a woman with a large chest (sports bra’s really are my saviour), not so toned stomach and rather chunky thighs running for me is when I possibly feel most conscious and aware of my appearance in comparison to any other situation ever. I constantly feel like people are watching me and think ‘well she’s wobbly….’ or ‘wow she stopped already?’ after they’ve seen me stop after making it to just one more lamp post. The important thing is though, you made it to that next lamp post and you will next time you go out, and you’ll continue to make it past that one extra lamp post each time to when there comes a point you’re flying down that road!
I have a few friends who take part in Park Run every weekend but this for me at the moment would be a total nightmare. I don’t think I can even run 5km! That’s what I want to change. I’m not setting myself any time limits yet but by the end of the summer I want to be able to run a steady 5km without stopping and without feeling like I’m going to die.
2) I’m slow but I’m lapping everyone on the couch.
SO many cyclists over take me when I’m out on my bike (especially going uphill) it is actually quite comical now. I’m not afraid to admit there have been women 30 years older than me who absolutely bomb past me and you know what I cheer them on! Instead of feeling embarrassed and putting myself down, I say hello and try catch them up! Now this hasn’t actually happened yet but what I do know is that I’m doing more than what I would be lying on the couch on a Saturday morning watching the Corrie omnibus.
I currently average at around 11mph and I’d like to be able to bump this up to around 14mph so I can join the local cycling club rides and be able to keep up!
3) I swim because I love my body not because I hate it.
This for me is possibly the strongest mantra of all and one which really hits home on a personal level. There’s been far too many occasions where I’ve forced myself to the gym to get that ‘bikini body’ and to make myself feel less like the ‘fat brunette one’ on holiday. This Girl Can has contributed to the most powerful change of all – my perception. I no longer relate exercise purely as a pressure mechanism to get skinny. I now exercise to look after myself, body and mind.
I am definitely overweight my BMI score is far from healthy but I’m hoping that with my recent change of thinking I will be able to lose weight whilst being safe and sensible. Obviously because I like even numbers and order I want to lose 24lbs when I’m 24 which is about 1.7 stone or just under 11kg. I really do love all things which are bad for you, fizzy drinks, chocolate and pastries. MMMM. But maybe as I learn to love my body again (it’s been a good 8 years since I felt body confident) it’ll become easier. The difference this time is that I’m not doing it for anyone else, I’ll be doing it for me, because for the very first time I truly believe I can.