Today I want to share with you my story of how I got into fitness and how I got to the place I am in life now, physically and mentally. This may be a long one!
I have always been fairly active, swimming, playing tennis and dancing from a young age. Swimming was the only one that I really did very seriously, I used to swim for my local club and competed for them. I was also never really ever comfortable with my body, my mum says she remembers when I was in primary school, I refused to let them weigh me when they were checking our health because I thought I was too fat and too heavy. In primary school!!
I had always been one of those people who yo-yo dieted, so on the lead up to summer would try whatever stupid diet I had seen around, trying to eat less and less to try and lose weight. Obviously it never worked because I would never stick with it and so I would put the weight back on. It had always been an underlying problem but nothing too major ever became of it until the summer when I finished my GCSE's.
I must have been what, 16? I didn't really think I was doing anything different to before but I decided that I was going to have to cut out meals to lose weight. Starting sixth form was stressful enough as it was, mainly because my closest friends had moved to a different college so, even though I still had good friends around me, I felt kinda lonely. So I was eating no where near enough, starting A-Levels and feeling lonely. This all built up inside me and I started feeling pretty depressed.
That whole time period seems like a massive blur when I think back on it now. I don't really know how it got so bad or how I got to such a low place. I would cause arguments with everyone around me and then when I got upset refuse to eat anything. I also turned to self-harm. I had no energy or motivation for school so wouldn't do well on homework or in exams so would control my eating further to hurt myself, to punish myself. It was all one massive downwards spiral! I really was not in a good place.
Telling my family was one of the hardest but best things I ever did. Obviously they knew that I was struggling with disordered eating but they didn't know about my depression or self harm, or just how bad I was mentally. Well I guess they could tell I was depressed but no one really talked about it. My mum took me to the doctors and I think that's when I realised how bad it actually was and seeing how upset it made my mum also made me want to get better.
I tried slowly increasing what I was eating and tried to stop self harming. It's a long and slow process but I knew it would be so worth it. Around this time my sister started really getting into the gym and working out so many times a week. I knew that jumping into that would not be a good thing for me so I went just a few times until I felt ready to go more. Then I sorta fell in love with it.
As I was eating more and getting stronger, going to the gym helped me feel strong and powerful. It had a positive change on my mental health. I was actually feeling happy, the endorphins it was giving me helped me so much. I started having a better outlook on myself and my life even just from going once or twice a week. But obviously it still wasn't perfect.
In my gap year I started feeling low again. I had finished school, all my friends had gone off to uni, I was struggling to find a job and spent most of my days sitting on the sofa watching TV or films. I was also struggling with gym anxiety and so did not want to go to the gym by myself, meaning I had to wait for the evenings to go with one of my parents. And obviously even then, they didn't want to go all the time meaning some days I wouldn't even leave the house. It left me with nothing productive to do.
In the March of that year I finally got a job! Even this little positive change had a huge impact on my mindset! In the lead up to the summer I realised that I would have to get over my gym anxiety, especially as I was starting University in that September and I would have to go by myself then! So I started going by myself more and more.
Suddenly I was feeling more confident in myself, so much more happy in myself and had an even better outlook on life! I fell even more in love with working out and the positive changes it could have on my body. I started learning more about lifting and eating healthier.
Seeing the physical and mental changes motivated me even more, I loved that my body felt strong and powerful again and that I was actually sorta good at something! I may not be able to lift the heaviest and definitely not run the furthest but I'm good at motivating myself, pushing myself and changing myself for the better. I still have bad days/weeks etc and I'm definitely still learning but these days I am overall much more positive and know exactly what to do if I am feeling down, work out! Haha
If it wasn't for my sister getting me into lifting, and obviously if it wasn't for my friends and family around me, I honestly don't know where I would be today. I find it amazing how many people I see have come from some sort of negative background and have found fitness to help them through it and are now in a much better place! Whether that's from disordered eating, anxiety, depression or a bad break up etc, we've all come so far and found a love of health & fitness to continue improving ourselves and our mental health!
The fitness community is growing every day and every day there are more and more women stepping into the weights area and joining this community and it's amazing to see! We are getting stronger and more confident and pushing boundaries. We are proving to guys that we are just as capable as them at lifting heavy sh*t and even though it is biologically harder for us to gain muscle, we sure as hell ain't letting that stop us!!
Working to improve yourself physically and mentally is a challenge every single day, but if you keep pushing, keep fighting, you will get there and oh my god it will be so so worth it!!
|From skinny & depressed to fit, muscly and happy!|