Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Help me up, let's keep on running..


I fear this post might be a bit of a jumble, because it's something of an outpouring of the jumble of thoughts in my head. So, apologies in advance for that.

Sparked by a conversation I had with one of my favourite gym buddies this morning as we were stretching after our workout, I was thinking (when am I not?!) about my ongoing weight loss battle, my size and my shape. 

I don't remember a time when I've ever felt happy with the way I looked. I can't recall looking into a mirror or at any photo of myself and having any thought which did not begin "oh, I hate...". I sometimes feel as though this isn't quite right, but I also know that people say that they also have concerns about their bodies and so I just pass it off as normal. But I'm not sure that it is.

I go to the gym probably twelve times per week. I swim, run, lift weights and go to a number of different exercise classes. But it's never enough. I said this to M this morning and he asked me "what would be enough for you?" And aside from the obvious, which is that I would like to lose weight, be skinny, feel confident about myself, the truth is that I don't know. Nor am I quite sure how or where to start figuring that out.

It almost feels a little like treading water. Wading through treacle. All of those inexplicable ways in which they explain those things you struggle to progress with. It's like there's a little demon inside my brain eating away at everything that I should be entitled to feel proud about, because it isn't enough. It's been living in there for at least the last fifteen years and has become part of the furniture.

The little victories, the tiny steps forward I take towards the ultimate goal? They get lost in the treacle. Instead of being celebrated, they're shrugged off and dismissed without time to even properly process. In the past I've told myself I want to progress to do a chin-up, to squat 100KG, to run a Parkrun, to lose an inch from my waist. I've done all of these and yet, I still feel lost and fail to accept that actually, I'm doing okay. This morning I stepped on the scales to find I'd lost a kilo and instead of being pleased, just thought "well, it's not enough". And I kind of hate myself for thinking like that.

I don't think this is necessarily an issue which is confined to fitness stuff, either. I'm hopeless at taking compliments (I just get embarrassed and shrug things off) and fail to recognise things in myself which I'd see as achievements if done by others. Weird, no? 

I've had a lot of comments in the past (both online in response to posts I've written) and in person, from people saying it's hard to believe that I have such lack of confidence in my body image, when I wear such colourful outfits and post photos of myself. There's a little part of me which at one point hoped that in doing that, I'd feel better about myself in the long run, at least by getting more used to it (this is the same approach I take towards running, which I detest). I'm not sure it works, but maybe one day it will. My outfit posts have always been just that to me - records of my outfits; nothing more. 

I don't know what the answer is. Or rather, I do but I don't know how to get there. M tells me that he's spent a long time feeling the same in terms of body confidence, before he realised that he just had to accept his lot and make the most of it. He tells me that he looks at other people of his age and that helps to serve as a reminder to him that he's doing okay in the gym, and at least he's doing something. Which I guess is a good point. But, we're not sure how to get to that lightbulb moment.

Is that how it works? One day I might just wake up and feel okay with myself? Feel as though I've made it to that mirage of a finish line which has been evading me for so long? I'm not sure I'm convinced. But I'm not sure how else to go about it, either. I don't think there's an answer - I have no happy ending paragraph for this post other than the whisper of hope that maybe one day I'll get there and things will be I will be enough.


  1. Have you thought about talking to someone? A professional, I mean. I don't think, if this is the way you've thought for the past fifteen years, that you're just going to wake up and feel okay with yourself. It's going to have to be something you work towards, and talking to a therapist can give you some tools to help you. As someone who resisted doing anything about my horrendous social anxiety for a long time and hoped it would just get better, I really recommend getting some help. <3 You deserve to be happy.

    1. I think you might be right. I have always figured that this isn't "that bad", that they'd laugh at me for being so worried about it, and that I shouldn't be wasting a professional's time when they could be helping someone more worthy of their time. But I think that maybe it's time to realise that this is a real issue. I'm not sure. Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to read the jumble.

    2. For what it's worth, I don't think anyone is going to laugh at you! This is absolutely something worth getting help for, and it's definitely within the scope of any decent therapist. Good luck with it all <3

  2. I don't know the answer Char. It's constantly trying to kid yourself and repeat these things. I guess I hate my nose for example and the huge bags under my eyes but I kind of just don't think of them because I am doing other things. But as you say, it seems to be more difficult for you. Sending you many hugs.

    1. Honestly, the thoughts are all consuming. It doesn't matter what I'm doing, where I am or what I'm supposed to be concentrating on; I can't silence them or turn them off. The little voices are always there, telling me I don't look as good in a skirt as that person over there, she's skinnier than me, he can lift more weight than I can, my nose is too big, my thighs are too fat, I shouldn't be allowed to leave the house in leggings, would be better off not eating that sandwich, etc etc. And I honestly believed that other people's internal monologues were the same, until I was talking to some friends recently who told me this really isn't the case. Maybe it's not normal for others?

  3. Oh Char. I'm so glad you shared this, because I feel like part of the battle is recognising it and you are realising that this perhaps isn't the 'norm'. So that is surely step 1. It's brave to admit that and bloody brave to continually wear the clothes you do and post outfit shots or "put yourself out there" when you're feeling like this-even if you don't recognise that. I can see the method behind you keeping doing it, in the hope something would click and it would improve.

    I'm not saying I know all about this or am telling you what to do, but could it perhaps be some sort of body dysmorphia thing? I feel like what you are seeing isn't what WE are seeing. You aren't seeing your true self when you look in the mirror or step on the scales or whatever it is. Your friend is right, there is never going to be a point where you feel content, when you're constantly striving for something more, but you don't really know what more. It can be addictive and easy to get caught up in numbers, whether that's weight on the scales, a dress size, waist measurement or how many miles you've run or lengths you've swam. I just worry it could become harmful to your body at some point, if you keep pushing yourself and like I say, the end goal is shady and likely not going to make you feel any better.

    Oddly I've found it took me getting really fat, to feel comfortable in my own skin. I used to be thin, but often worried about my size and dieted as a result. There were times I truly felt massive and pretty hideous and looking back, that was ridiculous. It wasn't all consuming though (which is how I think you are feeling), it just annoyed me from time to time. I'm not saying now that I never dislike something about myself, am 100% happy with my body and never want to lose weight, but it's extremely low down on my scale of important things. I can still look in the mirror and like a lot without only seeing the 'bad'.

    Again I'm not preaching or pretending I know the answer, but I'd try to see it as you have this amazing, functioning body. Your legs walk, you are strong, your mind is all there, you can taste, see, hear, speak. Try to look at it as being fortunate to have a body that can do all these things and focus less on how it looks from the exterior. The way it looks should come 2nd to how it functions x x x

    1. Thank you for your comment, Gem. I think you might be right and am going to ask about body dismorphia when I'm next at the doctors. I do worry that I need to keep a handle on the obsessive side of things, because I get really caught up in numbers, competitive about all kinds of things. I know that I should really focus on the positive things, even if they're small to begin with. I will try.