This blog post has been inspired by the oh so wonderful Facebook memory pop-ups because a photo flashed up on my phone this morning from 2011 and it made me realise how far I’ve come since then and how much healthier I am now.
This is the photo that flashed up on my phone…
I realise that to some of you this photo might look totally fine, but the truth is that I was ridiculously unhealthy (and unwell) back then!! Look at how boney my arms were! I was being signed off work repeatedly because my body was under so much pressure because I wasn’t eating enough and in all honesty, I didn’t care about my health. All I was bothered about was getting as thin as possible and looking good in a bikini.
The first thing I thought when I saw the photo this morning was how crazy skinny my legs looked compared to how strong they are now…and then I thought how ridiculous my fake tan looked.
I’m proud to say that I have overcome my fake tan addiction!! 😉
But most importantly, I’m super proud to say that I have moved waaaaaaay on from the girl I was in that picture.
In fact, when I saw it, I popped my bikini bottoms on and took a photo right away because I couldn’t believe how skinny my legs once were and I wanted to celebrate how strong they are now!
Back in 2011 when this photo was taken (and for many years before then) I was insanely focused on being as skinny as possible. I did very little exercise but hardly ate anything and one of my main goals was to have a thigh gap. My God, even just writing it now makes me feel sick to think how bad my relationship with my body (and my relationship with food) was back then. Seriously, back then I used to proudly have the mantra that I simply ate food to live – to survive. Certainly not for enjoyment.
Oh my f*cking what!?!?!? I’m actually ashamed to write that, but you know I like to be honest with you guys, so I may as well lay it all out there.
Long story short, in around 2013 / 2014 I started a little bit of weight training and over the years I finally began to develop a healthy relationship with food and with my body. I fell in love with weight training and eventually stopped caring about whether my thighs had a gap between them and started caring about my health and how strong I was.
Back in 2011 I was very unwell, I spent a lot of time in bed recovering from various different things because my lifestyle was so unhealthy. I have a rare blood condition which means my immune system is really weak, but even if I didn’t have that blood condition, it’s safe to say that the disregard I had for my health back then would’ve still made me very unwell.
All I cared about as far as my body was how skinny I could get and if I looked good in a dress/bikini. Oh how things have changed! Obviously, I do still care about how I look, but my health is always at the forefront of any goal making plans I decide to chase.
There are obviously still times when I look at my body and want to change certain things because old habits are bloody hard to kick…but most of the time I absolutely love my body!! And I put that confidence and self love down to the fact that I now value my body for more than just how it looks. I love my body for what it can do and how strong it is…I don’t just place value on my body regarding what size dress I fit into.
THAT is truly what I think has helped me to love my body and to stop seeing food as a necessary evil. I’ve got a healthier approach to my goals.
Desperate to have a thigh gap – hated the thought of having big legs
Wasn’t truly happy
Hungry (eating hardly anything)
LOVE having big, strong legs (and couldn’t give a crap whether they have a gap between them or not)
LOVE food and pretty much always eating
So my advice to you is to consider what your goals are and to take some time to analyse whether they are goals that put your health and happiness at risk. If they are, please change them, or at least amend them.
Although my personal opinion (which I’ve developed over the years) is that goals should be based on more than just how you look, I totally get that most people have goals based on their appearance.
I’ve found that achieving performance-based goals (such as handstands, push ups, pull ups, etc) gives me a feeling of achievement and pride that lasts far longer than when I used to hit my goal weight or dress size. So my advice is to add some goals that are based on more than just how you look to your plans because it will help you to adopt a healthier lifestyle both physically and mentally.
But even if your goals are purely based on how you look, just please consider how you are approaching those goals because ultimately health is the most important thing. And it’s taken me years to realise that. There are no quick fixes and anything that claims to be a quick fix is unhealthy.
Learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make them yourself. ALWAYS put your health first.