It has been 14 months since I started my fitness journey and it has certainly been emotional and I feel I have lost my way a little in recent months but I still have a few surprises up my sleeve. So I thought I would share this post with you, one year after I wrote it and keep your eyes peeled for The truth about fitness one year on.
Unless you were born 6ft tall, blonde with surfboard abs, avocado in one hand, a flex seed almond milk smoothie in the other, or if you’re just one of those lucky people who have amazing self confidence and a good positive body image, I’m guessing you will have noticed the recent surge in fitness accounts on social media- especially on Instagram. Images showing perfect bodies doing some kind of impossible yoga move next to a pool, on a mountain top or in front of a stunning sunset whilst tucking into the latest fitness inspired food trend that takes 5 hours to create are available in an abundance. And if you are anything like me you are sat there flicking through the pictures whilst sat in your pjs, eating a doughnut trying your hardest just to get through the daily stresses of adulting.
The truth is that these super fit people could be you- unfortunately it’s going to take more than posting a photo of your avocado on toast. It will take hard work, time, sweat, tears and other people’s negativity. Basically you will need to go to hell and back! But it is possible for everyone, so forget the big bones, bad genes and lack of time.
Now I’m sure you are thinking who the hell are you and what do you know about my fitness or my body?
I’m Emma, from Emma’s Happy Little World, and I might be a 6ft, blonde, avocado in one hand and smoothie in the other kinda girl. But I also feel fat and ugly daily, at the gym every morning, constantly body shamed and half the woman I was 12 months ago.
The above picture is a “before” photo. Unfortunately I have very few pictures of me, mainly because I used to run and hide from cameras.
A quick look back at my weight and fitness history, I spent my whole childhood over weight and by the time I hit my teens I was a stone in weight for every year I was old. Then at 18 and 18 stone I spent the next 11 years yo-yo dieting in the most unhealthy ways, starving and gorging every six months. I got married at 26 and spent my married life at size 16/18.
It wasn’t until I got divorced and was fast approaching 30 that I decided to sort out my diet. I got to a size 12 for my birthday and was happy enough (I told myself it would be impossible to be smaller than size 12 ). Then came along Jamie and the cycle of a new relationship started- you know what that means! Eating out all the time, drinking and being comfortable around each other. Within six months I gained two dress sizes. One day we took our dog Dave out for a walk and I was exhausted. Something in my head clicked there and then because I ended up marching myself down to the gym… and the rest is history (so much for a quick catch up!).
Now I’m size 8/10 and more importantly than being a dress size I am crazy fit! Turns out the key to dieting is not to diet! The absolute best advice I can give you is to forget about your weight, size and diet and think 100% about your health because I can guarantee if you put your health first your weight will change.
Top five things I’ve learnt about fitness.
1. No one at the gym is going to laugh at you.
The biggest fear I had was that people were going to call me names and make fun of my weight and I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have never found such a supportive group in my whole life. It turns out people at the gym just want you to succeed. When I didn’t know how to use a piece of equipment I whispered very nervously to another gym member who dropped his weights and came and helped me. I didn’t have the latest gym wear or even the ability to do a lot of the exercises but I did have a new found enthusiasm. Now a year on and I’m like an old bit of furniture at my local gym and the instructors are like family and push me in every way possible.
2. You will want to give up.
There has been many times over the last twelve months that either my body or my mind has wanted to give up (usually on a weekly basis) but thankfully never both at the same time! My mind has spent classes screaming at my legs to keep going and my legs have kept going long after my mind has turned off.
3. You are what you eat.
I absolutely do not restrict what I eat, if I feel like chocolate then I eat chocolate. If you start cutting food out you will feel like giving up. Instead I think about “is that healthy for me?” and “Is it going to benefit my health?”. I haven’t had a take away in 12 months because I think to myself, what’s in it? How’s it cooked? Are the ingredients fresh? I don’t eat crisps because I think there is no vitamins or minerals in them, instead I will have a nutritious piece of fruit. I just keep thinking to myself can my body use this in a positive way. Now healthy choices are what I prefer I can’t even stomach the thought of crisps or margarine. I still eat a lot of cake but I bake it myself so I know exactly what is in it and how fresh it is.
4. You don’t need a lot of money to get healthy.
Getting healthy doesn’t have to be expensive, the latest big brand trainers won’t make you run any faster and the new trendy food will not help you lose weight quicker. I only wear Florence and Fred active wear from Tesco because I think it is incredible and amazingly priced. And I stick to a fresh plant based diet, shopping at my local market not only is it cheap, but it’s seasonal, locally grown food.
5. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
Please if you are trying to lose weight visit your doctor first, that is my only regret on my journey so far. Being your “perfect size” DOES NOT equal happiness. I feel fat on a daily basis, and don’t see myself as the size as I am now. YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT.
Every week I will be sharing fitness and food ideas, recipes, tips and most importantly they won’t cost the earth or be ridiculously impossible. If there is anything you want to see or have any questions please comment on this post and I will try and include it in my next post!
So dust off your trainers, step outside…why not start with a walk?