Our inner voice is a powerful force. Fear, excuses and negative emotions can prevent us even beginning a health and fitness journey never mind reaching the goals we would love to acheive.

Thought patterns will be different for each individual but it’s important to know we all experience this negativity and self- sabotage.

Being honest and sharing how you are feeling with your trainer, gym buddies, friends and family will help you overcome the challenges.

Does this sound familiar?!

“I spend my life trying to fade into the background. When someone’s gaze settles on me it makes me cringe. Please stop looking at me. What you see is not who I really am. Dark colours and loose fit, designed to cover, hide and allow me to disappear from view.

But I want to be looked at. I admit it. For someone to see me and think ‘Who’s that happy, vibrant woman over there?! She looks like fun!’ Right now though….that feels a long way off, the struggle to get there too onerous. It would be months of deprivation and hard work. I’m at a low ebb already how am I meant to deal with that?

I’m consumed with desperation to shed this skin…this unfamiliar, uncomfortable body that apparently now belongs to me. I itch with frustration at where I am. I’ll pretend I don’t know how it happened. Work, kids, time, money….boredom, unhappiness, ‘treats’ I deserve after a long day.

She’s in here somewhere the old me. The girl who loved to be in the centre of the party. The woman who’s husband smiled at her instead of the brunette in skinny jeans across the room. Someone who had self esteem and confidence enough to fight her corner in work meetings.

The world is obsessed with image. It’s, thankfully, becoming slowly more accepted to see beauty in different shapes and sizes but the pressure is still there. As a mature, intelligent woman I’m meant to dismiss expectations of ‘perfection’….it’s disloyal to the sisterhood to care about my dress size. Who has time and head space for that?!

Oh but I DO think about how I look!! It impacts on my mood, my confidence and my self worth. What the hell is so wrong about wanting to feel good in a bikini?! Why is it shameful to crave the type of compliment that makes you walk that bit taller and prouder for a while?! I want to go shopping for jeans and not end up with stretchy leggings, chocolate and a bottle of wine to cheer me up!

I’m just tired of feeling bad about myself. I feel so stupidly ungrateful and selfish. With all the sadness in the world I’m just over here feeling sorry for myself because I hate what I see in the mirror. I even feel guilt about my guilt, ridiculous! Am I allowed to put myself first? Should I spend money and time on this project of self worth? My head hurts from thinking about it and really, it should be so simple! Eat less, move more. What’s wrong with me that I can’t even do that?

Fear traps me here. Joining a gym or class feels terrifying. What will they say about the fat girl in the corner? Will they laugh when I’m out of breath after a mere two minutes of exercise? How is it possible to even contemplate beginning when the journey ahead is so long? What if nothing works? Trying might lead to failing and then where will I be. Despite knowing I need to change, now. I still have so many pathetic excuses and that first step still feels too huge to take.”

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