When I was in middle school, I didn't exercise. Ever. I had overheard a few girls in my gym class making fun of how bad I was at football. We had fitness tests at school and I always got crappy marks. All of my experiences towards working out were negative and I felt like I could never be good at any sport. I had taken some tennis classes before and somewhat enjoyed it, but for some reason I quit that, too. Probably lack of self confidence.
When I was in my second year at high school, I became aware of the fact that I had gained some weight - I saw some pictures of myself and was disgusted. I have never been fat or overweight, but I certainly had become a little plumper. So I decided to change my habits and got a gym membership. I quickly realised that I actually quite liked the group lessons, especially the Les Mills ones - I got hooked on BodyPump and BodyAttack in just a few months. I started going to the gym 3-4 times a week. Exercising made me feel more alert and I didn't even have the urge to eat junk food anymore. I felt healthy, I got more muscles and I lost about 5 kg of fat. This went on for about two years - I managed to maintain this stage of physique even though I sometimes went a little up and down in weight. I always had a few kilos to lose to reach my target weight, though.
This is what my HeiaHeia page used to look like.
This autumn everything changed. I went through a rough time mentally since there were lots of changes in my life at that point. I moved away from my parents', I started at a new school and broke up with my teenage boyfriend. I was lost and tired all the time. I wanted to make new friends at the university and I attended quite a few freshers' parties. Our courses at school took up huge amounts of time since I had to learn completely new things and turn in big assignments every week. I stopped eating healthy - I just didn't have any energy left when I came home in the evening so making some pasta and eating bread and other high-carb foods was just easier than taking the time to compose a salad of healthy ingredients. Going to the gym felt impossible when I was already multitasking every second of my day to get all my work done. I was, and still am, very close to a burn out.
I have never been one of those girls who can eat anything and stay skinny and damn, that pisses me off. Six months of not exercising and eating unhealthy have brought me back to the point where I started a few years back - I have gained back the five kilos and possibly more, I haven't really wanted to check lately. And trust me, five kilos in a short girl like me is a lot.
I know that I am normal weight. I want to stress that the (main) point of this post is not to complain about my extra kilos, but to wonder why I let my weight define the way I feel about myself. Why do I feel like my value as a human being has decreased after gaining some weight? Why do I feel guilty every time I eat? Why do I keep thinking how other people see me every time I interact with someone or only walk past someone?
The obvious answer that comes to mind, of course, is the suffocating pressure young girls get from the fashion industry. Bloggers and models with their bony chests and long, thin legs create an illusion of women having to look like skeletons to be socially accepted, while the most desired feminine body especially among men is often actually a little curvier. It feels like a slap in the face to see magazines writing articles on "how to love your body" and at the same time giving diet tips and advise on how to get the extra fat off your thighs. But it's not even entirely about the media. We women actively set sick standards for ourselves and our friends by pointing out our round body parts and gushing over what kind of unhealthy food we've had during the past few days. The whole society is so twisted around body image issues that gaining a few kilos makes me feel like a bad, lazy person when the truth is that I've just been going through a rough period during which it's been hard for me to take care of myself.
I'm not here to blame anyone. I just want to state my frustration at the fact that I can't forgive myself for not being able to reach the standards I've set for myself, and my anger towards the fact that society makes me feel like I need to set those standards for myself. I'm talented in many ways, I'm intelligent, I find myself reasonably pretty. But seeing my body in the mirror makes me forget those things and sends my self confidence down the drain. And let's keep in mind that I am, after all, normal weight. Why do I feel like this?
Perhaps it's just that I'm used to being a little lighter. But even when I exercised actively I never felt good enough.
I bet everyone out there has felt anxious and self conscious about their bodies. But there are so many more important things in life that it sickens me that I feel so obsessed about this. What I want to ask you guys is what you do to feel good about yourselves. How do you boost your confidence?
Now that I'm slowly recovering from the stress and exhaustion I've been feeling, I have a burning desire to get to the gym and feel active again. It's just that I've been in a flu for weeks now, and I never overcome it because I don't have time to rest. I guess I just have to take small steps to having a healthy body and mind again. I don't want to be skinny. I want to be fit and strong.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I really felt like I had to share this. And don't worry, my blog won't be turning as depressive as this post was. I just wanted to get this out of my head and ask your opinions - do you feel pressured to stay skinny and how do you handle that pressure? How do you stay healthy?
Hugs and kisses.
Images: weheartit.com & heiaheia.com