Monday, 23 January 2012

A little bit of inspiration

My housemate Emily and I went for a walk along the canal to Barrow last weekend.  It was a perfect January day, a little muddy but everything cold and bright and frosty.  It's a nice easy walk and I really enjoyed being able to share it with her and spend so much time with her, all 7.5 miles of it...

...but that's not what I want to post about. This week there's been more to celebrate as Emily has just reached a significant milestone after spending the last few months putting herself through what I would describe as a mild form of torture.  Food Deprivation and Voluntary Self-Exhaustion...  Basically, she's been trying to lose weight.

It took me a while to get on board with the idea.  Having spent so many of my post-teenage years trying to see myself as a reasonably-normal-shaped human being and not some flabby mutant monster type thing, I find weight-loss quite a tricky concept in some ways.  "You mean after all that practise at accepting who I am, I now have to admit there's something wrong with me?"  Everybody has a problem with a bit of their body.  Everybody wants to be 'OK' so that people won't run a mile as they approach, and it's taken me a while to understand that actually I'm fine.  There's nothing really wrong with me, and in fact there's a lot right with me.  I've not got the perfect body, if such a thing even exists, but 'not perfect' is definitely 'good enough'.  In fact there's some bits of myself I really like now.  My legs are pretty good,  I like my hands, and I get my wrists and neck from my Mum.

Also I'm inherently lazy.  Ok, that's not true, but I am a Deliberator.  I spend a lot of time in my own head and I'd rather be knowledgeable than thin or sporty, so this whole exercise business holds less water for me than most things when I could be sitting in my room being pretentiously cerebral instead.  And I get bored doing the same thing over and over again.  Exercise just for the sake of exercising is not much fun.  However if I'm doing something else that is interesting, and exercise happens to be a bi-product of me doing it, then that's fine.  Hence all the walks and general outdoorsness of the last few months.  Outdoors I like.  It's worth incidentally exercising to get myself Outdoors.

Trying out new recipes.  We made fritatta!
All that said, Emily's stellar efforts have been rubbing off on me and made me think.  Since she began her challenge I've started adopting ideas I see her trying out.  My portion sizes are generally smaller now. I make almost all my own food from scratch.  Fruit has re-entered my lunchbox.  Also I've realised that while for the most part I don't feel the personal or ethical need to be particularly slim or fit, I need to make sure I remember what my body can do.  Maybe I'm not going to challenge it physically a lot of the time, but it does still need to be in good working order so that I don't get in my own way.  If you don't run much, and insist you're "not a runner", eventually you'll convince yourself of it so much that you won't ever try and run, even if it's just a short dash down the street for the fun of it.  Maybe I don't care about being the perfect weight, but I do want to be able to climb staircases without getting out of breath.  I don't want to be sporty, but I want to be active my entire life.

So in fact, while I liked Emily at 13+st and I shall like her just as much at 11, what she has been doing is really quite brave.  Rather than finding something she doesn't like about herself and silently fretting about it, she's challenged herself to improve, she's stuck with it, and she's winning!  I'm constantly impressed by her determination and discipline - something I could definitely stand to get a bit better at.

If you want to check out her progress, introduce yourself, or say something nice to her (yesterday was her birthday), you can find progress updates on her blog, Thin Girl Breaking Free.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a little too emotional right now to talk to you in person and I can't describe what this means to me. Thank you.