Thursday, 14 March 2013

The gym and self image

Today was my eldest child's third birthday.  Husband took the day off, but eldest was in playgroup this morning.  We had a whole morning with much less childcare than usual.  The sun was shinning.

So what did I do- I went and spent an hour at the gym, doing weights and running, rather than mooching into town for a coffee and some adult conversation with my one true love.

When I joined the gym a month ago it would safe to say that I had not seriously exercised in over a decade.  I'd made a few attempts to start running which had petered out after a little while.  But nothing else.  For along time I'd built my identity as someone who didn't exercise 

The truth was I don't like it when I'm not really good at something.  Brilliant in fact.  But I was pretty good at sports in school, on all the teams even.  But! I wasn't the best, so why would I bother?  And I didn't bother at all.

In the ten years that have passed since my secondary education I have gained several dress sizes and a few stone.  Which didn't bother me that much.  My father has become seriously ill with blood pressure and heart issues, which worried me a lot but didn't really motivate me to change anything.

Then I look at my children.  My wonderful children who love to move, who won't stop running and dancing and climbing and find such joy in it.  I thought about the example I wanted to give them as an adult and knew something had to change.

So I've joined the local council gym.  I was nervous about it.  Friends asked me if I was worried about all the "fit" people judging me, about looking stupid.  And I was, a little bit, but mostly I was worried about being bad at it!  I knew I wasn't going to be able to run at first, or lift as much weight as someone else or bend properly, or well anything.

But I went and did it anyway.  And found the pleasure in the endorphins a good workout will give you.  More importantly though I'm not good at it- I was certainly not any good the first time I went!  I've kept going anyway and I'm getting better and better.  Honestly I love it!  Even when my back is bad I want to go, actually want to!

I'm showing myself and my girls that it's ok to fail, to be wrong, that it's good to keep trying and learn to do better and better.  I've been limiting myself to things I can do without failing.  It's a lot healthier and braver to be failing and doing it anyway.

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