I began my 12 week transformation around the time that a new film, Embrace, was due to be released. The documentary follows Body Image Activist Taryn Brumfitt’s journey to change the way we feel about our bodies and how we view ourselves. The basic premise is that we need to love our bodies exactly as they are.
So as I prepared to begin my 12 week transformation, I wondered if my quest was at odds with Taryn’s message, a message I believe in whole-heartedly. Shouldn’t my body be worthy of love now, not after an arbitrary period of time I’ve set? And that’s when I realised; the whole reason I am doing this transformation is because my body is worthy of love. I love my body enough to realise that I could not keep treating it the way I was.
For too long, I have coasted along on the free pass my genetic good luck has afforded me. By that, I mean that despite years of bad dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle, I have never weighed more than 57 kilos. I have always worn size 8 and 10 clothing. I have never had a super-flat stomach or toned arms but I’ve also never been what society might deem fat.
And while this might seem like wonderful good fortune, the truth is it has made me lazy. It has made me careless with my health. I have made terrible lifestyle choices because in a physical sense, I could get away with them. So it was time for me to get real. Regardless of how I looked or how society perceived me, I did not feel good about my body because my body did not feel good. Let me tell you, when your 8 glasses a day are filled with Coke instead of water and Cheezels seem like a reasonable snack, it doesn’t matter what the scales say, you’re doing it wrong. I have been doing it wrong. And my gut health suffered.
"When your 8 glasses a day are filled with Coke instead of water and Cheezels seem like a reasonable snack, it doesn’t matter what the scales say, you’re doing it wrong."
So for every person who told me, “Oh, you’re tiny! Why do you need to transform?” the honest answer would have been, “Because I’d really like to poo every day.” It's a simple dream! So the idea that if you’re still a size 8/10 you don't really need a health transformation ignores the truth that the damage is so much deeper than the superficial. The crushing fatigue. The mental fogginess. The mood swings. I was sick from the inside out. I needed to fix it.
I wondered if changing the motivation might help these changes to stick. If the impetus for most diets or health kicks comes from feelings of loathing and repulsion, what if I approached this 12 week transformation fuelled by LOVE and RESPECT? Would reaching health goals be easier if I was driven by positivity? Instead of viewing exercising as punishment for my repulsive body, what if it was a way of celebrating the incredible things my body can do?
So this time, instead of grabbing at my belly fat in disgust or telling myself how gross the cellulite on my thighs is, I am thoughtfully considering my body as the machine it is and being honest about the toxins I have been fuelling it with. I am imagining those toxins stagnate in my unmoving body and I am recognising that this is the opposite of love. When I am not exercising and fuelling my body correctly, I can hear the gears grinding. Everything is hard work. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Yes, I have a lot of work to do when it comes to looking in the mirror and giving myself unconditional love. This is the ultimate goal and the mind is the hardest muscle to train, certainly the most resistant to change. In the meantime, I’ll love the shit out of myself (hopefully literally!) by weight training, getting my heart rate up and choosing to eat protein and plant-based meals because there is no denying my body LOVES that.
Week 3 Check-In
I am marvelling at how we can persist with bad habits for so long, so deeply mired in the shit that we can’t imagine a time when we might ever pull ourselves out….and then one day, we just do it. Because that’s often how change goes. We swear we can’t do it and then we do it. What happens in the brain that finally breaks through?
For me, it was getting on the scales after 3 months. Constant weigh-ins are a terrible idea for anyone and I don’t recommend them at all, but sometimes a weigh-in is the wake-up call we need. For me, it reminded me of how important an active lifestyle that avoids highly processed foods is to my overall health. It’s a shame it was a superficial trigger like weight gain that woke me up and not the months of sluggishness and fatigue that I wilfully ignored.
Proudly continuing my thrice weekly workouts – although I missed Saturday’s because Bren had to work….. and I was recovering from a night out with the kinder mums. Kinder mums love wine. Ooooh, boy, do they love it! But it was workout business as usual this morning and I feel great. I am in the zone. And I am beginning Week 4…….*deep breaths*…… Coke-free.
Slow and steady wins the race. One foot in front of the other. Perfection is not the key. Persistence is.