From a very young age I have struggled with my weight, in particular the “thunder thighs” I grew to despise.
Those who know me now tend to balk when I mention those body image issues: “But sure you’re the size of nothing” they cry, eyeing my 9-10 stone frame. “There’s not a pick on you.”
And yet every time I try to squeeze my legs into a pair of jeans the panic starts. Shops just don’t make clothes for girls like me – 5ft 3 and a half, with a small waist and a little more in the leg department.
A few months back I started blogging about joining a gym and, despite my best intentions, didn’t exactly keep an online diary. Looking back, I know that’s a good thing because about five peanut butter cups and two red velvet cupcakes later, I’d have been fairly stuck for anything interesting to say.
Less than three months later I’ve decided to quit – though not because I’m giving up on getting fit. In fact, I’m quitting for the sake of fitness.
For the sake of my mental well-being I’m giving up the gym.
You see every time I set foot on a cross trainer I became less and less concerned with the exercise and more obsessed with the numbers on the screen. How fast I could go, the distance I’d cover and the number of calories burned were always on my mind, to the point where I’d avoid my body’s cries for a break.
Of course it doesn’t work that way for everyone – plenty of people exercise in gyms with no bother. But I was doing three 10k bursts a week after work, and adding in extra walks here and there on the weekend.
It worked wonders for my body, if you can call really bringing your ribs out wonders, but left me utterly mentally messed up.
Exercise is a fantastic aid when it comes to improving your mental health, but only when you do it properly. I was using and abusing the system, and ended up paying the price.
Because I exhausted my little body, I haven’t been able to go to a gym for about a month. And the guilt associated with the wasted membership fee (sure that’s a full week’s shopping) is just too much to handle.
Being a quitter will make me mentally fitter, and by pounding the pavements with no calorie counters flashing in front of my eyes, I’m sure I’ll find a healthier and happier way to banish those thunder thighs.