A friend the other day pointed out how much I have changed when I agreed to sign up to do an obstacle course with her. I met this friend only 4 years ago in my first year as a vet and she is absolutely right- the girl she worked with that year would have never agreed to do an obstacle race, let alone do anything too physical with her weekend. My weekends back then were much more commonly spent working or recovering from big nights out drinking too much and partying too hard. Sometimes we get so caught up on what we want to achieve that we forget to reflect on how far we come- I am a completely different person to that girl from 4 years ago – both in mind, body and soul. Here’s a list of just how my life has changed in the last 3 years.
One of the biggest changes in my life has been learning to believe that I am capable of whatever I set my mind to. Sports and fitness was never my thing before starting this journey 3 years ago, infact it was something I had always avoided for fear of failing or letting others down. You see I have always been good at thing things I have done, mostly academic, having excelled in school and being successful in my career so far. I have a tendency to avoid doing things that I am not good at. But what I have learnt over the last 3 years is that being good at something doesn’t mean being the best at it- it simply means giving something your all. If you can do that- you will be amazed by what you can achieve. I have learnt to set myself goals that there is no way I would have every dreamed of considering (or any of my friends or family would have ever imagined me doing) and I will continue to set my sights high in the things I want to achieve- simply to prove to myself and others that I can!
As part of all of this I have found a love for my body- in both its appearance and its capabilities- that I have never had in my life. We know all too well the struggle with body image that many girls and women go through- and I have been no different. But when you finally find the balance of training and eating to better your performance rather than you appearance you are finally at the point where you can learn to love and respect your body for how it was made and what it does for you. I have learnt just how much I can push myself and how to nurture my body to recover from injury. I have learnt that my body will respond exactly to how I treat it- be it the food I put in my mouth or the training I do. I have learnt I may not be built for speed by these muscles of mine can keep pushing me through hours of training or racing. It no longer matters to me how I look in that dress or those skinny jeans (see point 4)- my body is a perfect machine and is exactly what I want it to be!
2. Working out is my favourite hobby!
I never thought I would see the day where my favourite thing to do on any day was to work out! I look forward to the weekends so I can fit in multiple training sessions, longer workouts or races! I can jump out of bed in the morning knowing I have a great sweat session ahead of me, and there is no better feeling than the endorphins that follow. My friends seem to have learnt not to invite me for that friday or saturday night out drinking anymore as they have heard one too many times ‘Sorry I can’t I have to train in the morning’. I absolutely love spending my Friday nights at the gym when no one else is there and waking up fresh for the weekend!
I now have a whole new idea of what counts as a sleep in! My body struggles to stay in bed later than 7 am – where as previously this would have been an early start on the weekends! These days I’m up at 4-4:30 to get in a training session before work and I have learnt there is no better way to start my days! As tehy say0 the only workout you will regret is the one you didn’t do!
I used to be the girl that donned make up and heels to even do the groceries! I wouldn’t be caught dead leaving the house sans make up – let alone in workout gear. Now I spend the large majority of my time that isn’t in work clothes in gym gear- and look for any excuse to wear such gear out in public! I now avoid heels at all cost – as they are now just seen as potential source of injury that may stop me from running rathe than tools to elongate my legs!
It’s not normal to love the feeling of your heart racing, sweat pouring out of you and being out of breath- which is why I think many people don’t stick with their fitness journeys. But it is a feeling that you can grow to love. As Jillian Michael’s said- ‘Get comfortable with being uncomfortable’! It is now a feeling I chase down every day- and whilst I may not enjoy it at the time – when I’m done its TOTALLY worth it!
Never in my life have I been one to be prepared. I am a hopeless procrastinator- but in the last 3 years I have learnt that preparation really is the key to success. I now do #foodprep Sundays so that I’m ready to stay on track with my nutrition during this week. I have learnt that without doing this I am much more likely to reach for that 3pm chocolate bar or order takeaway for dinner (actually I cant remember the last time I had takeaway). I have found a love for cooking clean healthy meals and eating them! I have my gym bag packed at all times so I’m ready to slip in a session whenever I get a chance and plan my workouts in advance- they are a date in my diary that I have to keep.
My relationship with food has COMPLETELY changed! I no longer see food as something just to satisfy my cravings or comfort me when things aren’t going perfectly. I have learnt that food is fuel for my body- and if I want to be able to do all the things I set out to do I need to give it the appropriate fuel! I have learnt about calories, carbs, protein and fats and exactly what my body needs to function how I want it to. As someone who has struggled with binge eating in the past, this has been a huge turn around for me and my relationship with food is much healthier now! I have also become all so familar and excited by carb loading opportunities!
I have mentioned this on my facebook page a few times! Anyone that scrolled through the photos on my phone, my pinterest boards or my facebook news feed may question exactly what I am into! I am absolutely inspired by strong fit woman and images of these ladies fill my every day life. They are who I aim to be like and provide a reminder that I can achieve what I want with hard work.
Disclaimer: I am careful not to compare myself to these wonderful women in any negative ways- that is not good for anyone’s body image or mental health!
There’s something about racing – be it fun runs, triathlons or bike rides- that force you to become more comfortable with your toileting than you ever thought possible. As someone who used too avoid public toilets at all costs- I have been in far more portaloos than I ever would have imagined (and we all know that pre race portaloos can be some of the worst!). I have learnt to pee whilst open water swimming (although still can’t seem to manage during freestyle!) to save needing to during transition. I have learnt just what pre race nerves can do to your gastrointestinal tract! I have learnt that you can get so sweaty it literally forms dry crusts on you. Oh its just charming being an athlete isn’t it!?
10. Becoming an inspiration
My favourite way my life has changed is the fact that I am now an inspiration to others. People know they can do it, because I have, and I endeavour to support each of them on the way. There is nothing mor special than this feeling- I love it and I hope it can continue forever!