Sunday, 10 April 2016

Being Large and Loving Fitness

One foot. Another. Breathe in. Breathe out. You can do this. You've got this. You're nearly there.

These are the kind of thoughts that rattle through my brain when I go running. Sometimes other thoughts get in too, sometimes I just count, one, two, three, breathe, one, two, three, breathe, and sometimes I sing along to the music blaring into my head. When I swim, I count my lengths as I go and sometimes count my breaths but often I then just think about what I'm doing or just about life in general. But mostly, I focus on what I'm doing. I can easily let worries escape me when I'm exercising and it's one of the biggest reasons that I love it.

Another reason is that I just love being active. It's hard to describe but there is something so freeing about exercising. A release of endorphins. A build up of muscle. A wave of emotion. I can't really describe how it feels when I finish a run with a personal best, or if it's a run I'm struggling with, how good it feels to push through until I feel satisfied. I love so much about exercising. I have always been a very active person. Even as a child. I was always the first one to run off, to climb the monkey bars or do the hop scotch. I loved PE, especially Netball and Rounders. Ironically I used to hate cross-country running when I was a teenager, but that's mostly because I was always the last person across the finish line.

And I still feel that way. Because no matter how much exercise I do, no matter how hard I push myself and beat my own personal bests, I have never been the fastest. I've never won a race or a swim, I've never been able to go to gym classes and do everything for the whole hour. It does not matter how much I do, I have never been better than other people. But I'm okay with that because despite that, I still love it. And it's probably why I'm one of those odd sport lovers who is the least competitive person ever.

But the problem I really find with exercise is that no matter how much of it I do, I find it incredibly difficult to lose weight. This essentially means that I'm a fit individual* who can run without stopping for over an hour but I still fit in the "obese/overweight" BMI category. It means that I feel, ultimately, self-concious every single time I walk into the gym or an exercise class because it feels like everyone is judging me. It means that I, essentially, hate the way I look. I hate that I can't seem to do anything about it either.

The biggest way I feel insecure while exercising, aside from feeling like everyone looking at me and thinking it must be my first time in a gym, is the fact that it is very difficult to get exercise clothes in the right size for cheap. Apparently when it comes to fitness clothes, they only make clothes for people who are already skinny, not for those who are just trying to shed a few pounds. I have never been able to find clothes larger than a size 16 and this is completely demoralising. And it sends out a horrible message as well. I really hope that one day soon this changes because everyone deserves the chance to workout in clothes that actually help you exercise because they're designed that way.

And then there's that look I get when I tell people how much I exercise. That dubious look. Because surely there is no way I look the way I do and still go to the gym three times a week. I can't possibly be honest when I explain that I have an active job that has me going up and down four flights of stairs for the majority of the day. Because if that were the case, I'd look slimmer. I should be slimmer. But I'm not. And I've come to the stark realisation that I also probably never will be. I do fluctuate in weight and I know that at the moment I'm more on the heavier side than I have been, but it means I will probably never have a flat stomach and look model-thin. And I'm okay with that. I just wish other people could be as well.

*This may not be entirely true any more due to currently not being as active as usual for personal reasons but I'll be talking more about this in a few months. Let's just pretend it's correct for now. ;)


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No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.