On Tuesday, I celebrated Women’s Day by attending my first ever HIIT workout boot camp class, run by the beautiful Herbalife ladies. I arrived thinking that I was relatively fit, forgetting about the fact that I had been bed-bound for a fortnight thanks to gum surgery earlier this month. So needless to say, I battled. Not just physically, but mentally, as I felt as though I was back to square one – and was incredibly unmotivated as a result.
When I got to work yesterday, a colleague noticed my wincing (damn those squats!) and asked what was wrong. I told her about the boot camp, how great it was, but how I really struggled and was feeling a bit down. She looked at me and said, “But you’re skinny, so it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to exercise.” It's not the first time I've heard this sort of statement. When I made a commitment to start on this healthy journey and change my lifestyle and diet, it wasn't to lose weight, but naturally I did - and everyone was on my case about it. "You don't need to lose weight!" "It's because of your break-up, isn't it?" "Are you starving yourself?" These sorts of responses make me think about how misguided many people are about what it means to be healthy and happy.
Skinny does not equal healthy. Dieting does not equal healthy. Exercising every hour of the day does not equal healthy. It's all about balance, embracing a healthy lifestyle, and doing it for the right reasons. For me, exercising and eating well helps my mental health. It gives me confidence, helps me deal with my depression and makes me feel like I'm in control of my life. I love being part of a community of encouraging, like-minded individuals who motivate me to try harder - even on the days when I want to quit. I like feeling proud of what my body can do, and knowing that I could run that race if I really put my mind to it. I am grateful for the opportunity to be outdoors, and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer.
I am by no means a fitness fanatic. I don't exercise as much as I should, I lack motivation, I eat carbs and love chocolate. I struggle on most days to get myself up and out of the house. But when I do, it is glorious. And I'm trying. It's not just about being skinny. It's about living a life I am proud of. Tonight is my second boot camp class, and I am certain it will tough. But I can do it. And knowing that is the most empowering feeling of all.