I have never really been one for health and fitness. In school, sports was a must do, but never enjoyed. Cross country running involved walking as slowly around the field as possible, tennis involved sunbathing when the teachers weren’t looking. The only fun thing was the tiny room, on the far side of the sports hall, where a few of us would half heartedly use the weight training machines for an hour a week, while chatting about what really mattered to 15 year olds.
My late teens and early twenties consisted of drinking and clubbing and partying. This switched quickly to motherhood and exhaustion, and having my time taken up by little people. I started to walk a lot. To baby groups, to the shops, to the school. Not driving meant that if I wanted to go somewhere it was by foot. A necessity, but not necessarily enjoyable. I tried to fit in the odd exercise dvd, but there was no passion in it. No real enjoyment. I did it because I felt I must.
3 years ago something changed. Signing up for the London Moonwalk gave me a goal to aim for. 26.2 miles to walk, and six months to train for it.
I was over 16 stone, but I believed that Health At Every Size, was very possible. And any exercise, anything that got my heart pumping and muscles moving, had to be beneficial. I walked every day, and I made it enjoyable by listening to music and audio books, changing my route, finding a walking buddy. I put time and thought into making it enjoyable. I managed to complete that first Moonwalk, though it was hard, and I thought I might not. I didn’t lose much, if any, weight during training. But I completed that Moonwalk, and there was a very real feeling of achievement. It showed me I was capable of something big. I was so inspired that I signed up for the Cheltenham Half Marathon and my desire was to learn to run.
Sadly injury got in the way. Achilles Tendinitis affected my left leg. It made learning to run unbearable, and even trying to keep up walking was painful. The day of the Cheltenham Half was a big fat misery, when a virus I was trying to fight off decided to hit with a vengeance. I barely made a mile walking before collapsing in a hyperventilating heap.
It was a big disappointment. I felt useless, I felt fat and unhealthy, and unable to achieve anything. A pity party started, and I was miserable. Of course looking back, I should never have attempted the Half while feeling so rough. A trip to the doctor showed an infection, but it also showed I needed to do more for myself. I may have completed a Moonwalk 4 months beforehand, but I was far from a healthy specimen.
A change of eating ensued, and signing up for the 2014 Moonwalk also. I started training again, straight away, with a goal of being able to complete it fitter and faster.
Alas, when the time came, it wasn’t faster, and it was this time with the injury of a stress fracture for me.
So why am I now training for the London Marathon, when the last two mammoth events have resulted in injury of some sort? And what has changed this time to make me so damn determined and driven? I’m 35 now, 40 isn’t far off, maybe the realisation of mortality is creeping in, and there are things I can do to improve my quality of life.
For me, it is evident that as I lose weight, these things become easier, and I feel generally fitter. I’m now 3 stone lighter than the first time I signed up for the London Moonwalk. That is 3 stone less to carry around with me as I train. It is 3 stone less that my heart is having to deal with as it pumps blood to all my vital organs.
3 stone lighter and I have not attracted Achilles Tendinitis when learning to run. 3 stone lighter and in less than a month I have managed to get to a point of running for 15 minutes continuously, with a recovery time that means I can run again after a fairly short space of time (for me).
I believe in Health At Every Size. But for me, it wasn’t enough. For me Health At Every Size was the encouragement to start at the size I was. To believe I could, to feel I was not alone. But now it is about Health at MY size. To know I am an individual, to believe I alone am capable of what I am capable of. And I’ve realised I love fitness goals. But they have to be ones that a months away and push me in a time limit that is safe enough for me to manage. Fitness goals that are based on what I put in. I love being surprised at how my body works, at the achievements I can make, at the changes that take place. Health At MY Size lets me see those differences and achievements.
Health At Every Size is a Great place for anyone who is scared of moving to start. To know our bodies shouldn’t limit us, and to let us realise the benefits of exercise and movement.