New month, same me- a short story.
Because it’s a Monday AND the 1st of the month my 🧠 keeps throwing out suggestions of; ‘fresh start’, ‘new goal’, ‘clean slate’- imagine an excitable Labrador puppy with its tongue lolling about as it jumps up to encourage me to overhaul my whole being. Because of the persistence of my subconscious I have since started to think about how much we fetishise ‘new beginnings’. I had all kinds of urges to rekindle my romance with instagram posts about ‘getting my head into gear’ or ‘starting a cut’. I had to tell my imaginary brain puppy to calm down, I shall not be starting a cut (although, admittedly, I am doing sober October- however that’s more out of fear that I genuinely don’t think it’s appropriate how much I think about wine).
It confused me that I had this sudden urge to reinforce a narrative that I am trying to train myself out of. It then made me remember a time when I would be so excited to ‘get back on track’, because I’d fallen off an imaginary - and fairly totalitarian - wagon. Had this wagon had a name it probably would’ve been called ‘The Shredzmobile’. I used to willingly hop on and off the shredzmobile every few months, and whilst off it I would largely become very acquainted with the ‘LIVING MY BEST LIFE’ carnival float (I’m in a metaphorical mood sorry). The LMBLCF (if you will) wasn’t so much an ambling wander into a less regimented routine, but more like desperately flinging myself off a cliff into a huge ball-pit filled with; nights out, dominoes, Chinese takeaways, gin & tonics and other ‘fun’ activities that were absorbable via osmosis -(incase you were wondering some of this story has been exaggerated for your entertainment). Once I had absorbed all of the ‘fun’, which I was malnourished of whilst I was ‘nourishing’ myself with HeALth & FiTNesz, I would inevitably wake up from my reverie at the bottom of the cliff with quite a headache and slump into nightmare of self loathing. I would, once again, embark on the same journey- rinse and repeat - if you will. In my teenage years to early twenties (I’m 24 lols but whatevs I’vE GrOWn), prior to food tracking and overtraining (the preferred route offered by the shredzmobile to shredzville), I would hop on and off other random transportation devices; ‘the cabbage soup express’, ‘the special k-car’ and so on and so forth. Nothing ever really ‘worked out’ for me, no matter what lengths I went to (which in those days included everything except actually doing exercise lols).
Anywho, whilst I spent all those years hitchhiking rides (we all know hitchhiking is dangerous), I never got to where I wanted to be. That’s because when I got to where I thought I wanted to be - it wasn’t a very nice place.
Shredzville is pretty lonely and everyone there is hangry. Gradually, after unceremoniously ‘falling off the wagon’ and ‘getting back on track’ for many years, I started to wonder if there were other options. Perhaps instead of looking at all these transportation routes to far flung places- ‘sit on the shake train for just 3 weeks and in exchange for giving up one meal a day you can look like insert X celebrity/influencer here’, ‘Cut out carbs and have sub-optimal brain function but look super sexy and fun’- The Gains Train. Perhaps I could just stop ferrying myself on treacherous journeys with such big promises. Maybe l could go on a little walk and look at the sights along the way, see what I can add to my life, rather than looking at myself to see how much (fat) I could take away.
What I found was that when I stopped listening to all the noise from the shouty adverts, objectifying magazines and other people (which undoubtedly my brain puppy is the remnants of), I actually had quite a nice time just going about life trying to make each day a little bit better than the last.
My journey stops and starts but I never have to go back to the beginning. I’m not relying on any one technique or vehicle to get me to my destination- I’m just making sure I always go forwards. Life ebbs and flows and things naturally progress and regress. Sometimes I love pushing my body to the limits, sometimes I love pushing my liver to the limits… I’m joking..kind of. The beauty of life, however, is that we are not just one thing. Taking inspiration from Jameela Jamil’s ‘I-weigh’ campaign, I weigh; my love of books, my love of the gym, my love for my family, boyfriend and friends, my desire to learn, my passion for feminism and all the other intangible nuggets that make up my being. So it seems highly paradoxical that when we regress in one area of our lives, we assume that everything has to come to a halt. For example, the other week on I was lying on a boat, reading a book, drinking beer and I felt really very-super-happy. Perhaps in terms of fitness this could be seen as ‘falling off the wagon’. Luckily, I am not on the wagon anymore, as I am at a place where I try not to let one very small detail in the tapestry of my life (aka my physique) dictate too much. I look my best when I feel my best - and that’s a lovely place to be, because feeling your best doesn’t come from diets or overtraining, it comes from nourishing ALL of you. I won’t lie though, in some ways accepting yourself can be harder than starving yourself - we live in a world where ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ was seen as a fantastic motto.
If we look at everything holistically, we will notice that fitness isn’t just abs and bottoms. Health isn’t just about what you’re eating or how you’re training - it’s also about what you’re saying and doing. Reading a book in the middle of the ocean may not seem like the ‘MAgiC SolUTIOn TO rOCK A HaRd BoDY’, but it certainly helps with your emotional and mental wellbeing. Reading a book might make you question what is so special about having a rock hard body when there are people out there who got to go to Hogwarts (not bitter). Our brains, thoughts, emotions and conditioning are the the main fundamental foundations to becoming happier and healthier humans. If you’re not nourishing your brain with food (ALL FOODS), and social engagement and books and movies and art and whatever else makes you happy- that isn’t healthy. Sometimes we might go too far either way- a little too much socialising (wine) or a little too much ‘healthy eating’ (too much makes it unhealthy), but as long as we make sure to try and always be mindful it doesn’t matter if we stray a little in one area- we can’t do everything at once.
Incase this doesn’t make any sense - and I’m fairly certain it doesn’t- what I’m trying to say is that a ‘diet’ is very rarely going to work out. Having a physical end #goal to look like someone else is usually really detrimental. You don’t need the 1st of a month, a Monday or a new year to ‘get back on track’ - if the wagon or track is one that you can fall off- it’s clearly not very reliable and probably not insured.
If you want to insure (see what I did there), that you’re the captain of your own boat rather than a pirate (have I taken the metaphor too far?), then stop thinking about the end goal and start trying to add a little goodness to your life each day. That goodness might be a walk one day and chocolate the next.
Don’t get me wrong, every now and then I get sudden urges to go on a diet, or to look like a girl on instagram (I am very aware that to some people I may be ‘the girl on instagram’ and if in anyway that is detrimental to your mental health please unfollow - I won’t know - it’s ok). Every now and then I feel less than, or unnattractive and that’s super shitty. But what we need to question isn’t ourselves, or the way we look, it is why do we think we’re not good enough? And usually it’s because our society wants women to be beautiful and objectifiable- unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, you can’t objectify someones brain. We all want to look and feel beautiful- but before you tear yourself apart for all the things you think you’re not, think about all the things that you are. I no longer want to post on instagram messages that encourage weight-loss, fat-loss or any other narrative that reinforces the idea that we need to be smaller (hence why I stopped my health fat-loss diary). If there’s one thing the patriarchy does for us, it’s try to reduce us - and as you know - I do not Stan the patriarchy. I do want to try and help you find a place where you’re happier and I do think that that can be directly correlated to being healthier. Being ‘healthier’ (which is hugely subjective and kind of means nothing and everything all at once) by proxy may well change your body, however I want that to be the bi-product and not the focus.
If you were planning on starting a ‘new month, new me’ today- please don’t. Do a ‘new me, same me’, but just upgraded a little (if you must).
Love you x