Let’s get real for a min.
Exercise is f*cking hard. And I mean that in multiple ways – the actual doing it, doing it consistently and properly, staying motivated to keep doing it, it’s really hard. And I don’t think it’s talked about all that much. We talk about the fact we need to do it and how important it is but not the struggles that can come along with it. So I’m gonna lay out the reality of an 18 year old Indian girl who’s never had a flat stomach, who hated exercise and why that’s changing.
I’ve wanted to change how I look for a long time and admittedly I havn't really helped myself. I love eating and bloody love food – good luck to anyone who gets in my way of food for me. I’ve tried working out over the summers, being more active at school, even getting off the bus earlier to up my steps.
Surprise surprise it hasn’t worked. And it’s only now that I’m 18 when I can finally say, “I want to actively improve my health”.
And it’s taken a hell of a lot of growth in numerous ways. It’s a growth of confidence to be sure in myself and what I’m doing. It’s a growth of a positive mental attitude and mindset to drive me. And it’s a growth of desire – I actually want to do it now. Which is why I’ve been successfully working out consistently and improving for the past 8 weeks. Even now when I’m on holiday, I’ve brought my resistance band and I’m ready to go, because I want to and it’s a predominately satisfying feeling – when I make choices about food or working out I’m doing it to benefit myself. But this hasn’t come easy…
My mentality on food, health and exercise has done a complete 180 in the past year and it’s down to a few things but it’s also grown naturally and inexplicably.
Your surroundings begin to inhabit you.
In both good and bad ways.
I think part of it is being at uni and having all your friends be people who regularly work out and have a positive, healthy attitude towards food (most of the time, we’re students after all). It’s undeniably encouraging and even though I wasn’t joining in with the exercise side of it all the time it was definitely subconsciously growing my positivity towards it all.
This shocked me. I hate help, I hate asking for it and I really hate talking about, taking advice or taking part in anything to do with health in a group environment. I’m independent and admittedly stubborn and I like to do things in my own way. And I’ve realised that it’s taken a number of years to even listen to advice, even if it’s suggestions, in order to get to the place I am now, which is comfortable and happy to talk about it, because I’m doing it. I’m not uneducated in the matter anymore so I don’t feel so naive about it all and that’s been really important for me to grow. When you live with people and are spending 80% of you day with them, you naturally foster an environment that’s comfortable for you, it’s completely natural and I think I did so in a way with my friends where I made myself comfortable to talk about it in their company. This isn’t easy but once you do it, it’s so great. Help is good and not taking it is the most negative reaction you can have.
Inner mentality controls everything, whether you want it to or not.
Whether you realise it or not, accept it or not, what’s going on inside your head controls everything. It controls you physically and emotionally, your mood and your attitude. And it’s so damn powerful but so automatic it’s unnoticeable and I found this to be true for myself particularly. My mentality was so negative and defeatist. I was so stuck in my ways and comfortable that I wasn’t even open to learning about working out or food or health. And I reckon a lot of that came down to the fact that I knew I was wrong, but I buried that very well because, I don’t like being wrong. And it’s only when I brought that to the surface and actively started to change my attitude anything happened. It was making myself conscious of my choices, of my image, of my reality and it was one hell of an ice bath. But it bloody worked.
“And now I can’t wait to work out“
It woke me up and actually really drove me to positivity. And now I can’t wait to work out, I can’t wait for the sweat and the out of breathness because actually, and I never thought I’d say this – it feels so damn good. And the satisfaction of working out is on a level unparalleled and it’s like an escalator. I am just constantly, continuously going up because I’m pushed up by the step before. I now crave that feeling, rather than the food I used to.
But my mentality only changed because of one thing.
Finally and perhaps the most important thing I can stress to anyone no matter where you are with your health is this:
The Sinatra Bias
I did it my way.
I cannot stress how important and key this is to anyone and everyone who’s even thinking about their health, relationship with food or working out – do it in your own way.
What’s great about people is they want to help and advise and as I said taking it is positive. However advice is opinion, and whilst it’s there to listen to, you don’t always have to take it. And this is something I always used to forget, I would always feel forced to take someone’s advice when actually I didn’t have to. I could do it my way. And this realisation for me was the most important part in all this because it enabled me to take the reigns over it all. No one to tell me what to eat or how to work out or when or where to. I would decide because I know myself and my needs best. I know what I like and what I don’t and in order to make this work I need to almost sell it to myself in the most attractive way possible.
So for me this was eating foods I wanted to eat and doing workouts that I actually enjoyed doing – because if you don’t, it won’t work. Do it your own way because whilst you may be similar you’re in no way the same as anyone else. And you know what? That’s completely justified.
When once I would’ve thought looking at these pictures “oh god look at my stomach” or “I’ll just crop that out” I now think “YES her skin is GLOWING” and “I’m actually proud of how I look”.
I think I could talk about this all day and I know I’ll post more content around this topic but I’m gonna leave it there for now. None of this is an excuse for waiting but perhaps it’s something someone needs to hear to feel more comfortable in themselves and for me, that’s enough.