Sometimes, when you’re sharing your story on a blog like this, there is a tendency to focus on the positives. Of course, you want to share and celebrate the amazing things you’re doing. And it all sounds very fun – “I swam 4k in a river, hurrah!” or “What fun, i joined a cycling group!” It all sounds very easy, as if it all happens by magic.
And when we start to believe that ourselves, it can be a dangerous place because any tiredness or lapse of enthusiasm can feel like an unreasonable failure on our parts.
We need to reflect and remind ourselves of where we were, where we are and how we got there.
July 12 – August 15 (65lbs lost)
This hasn’t happened by magic. This has happened because:
- Every day I make a conscious choice to do the right things in terms of exercise. I do that whether I feel like it or not, I do the right things even when I cannot be bothered. I get out of bed at 5am, regularly, to train. I go out in the evening, to train. Regardless of great day or bad day, I train. I stretch, foam roll, develop training plans, arrange facilities to train at. I often travel 60 miles round time to train with The Trainer. It takes me 2 hours to drive there and back for one PT session, but I used to regularly do that every single Saturday morning with the session at 6am.
- I eat very, very consciously. I have learned what great macros look like and I take the time to plan meals, buy the ingredients, prepare and cook the meals and ensure that they are ready when they need to be. This includes a breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for me and also for my family. All from scratch, from fresh ingredients. This is not convenience food but it is great fuel.
- I have battled with confidence issues to enable me to turn up to the gym without feeling quite so out of place. I’ve joined a triathlon group, gone to CrossFit, and joined a cycling group – none of which came easily and all took significant deep breaths on my part.
Let’s take a recent example. I swam 4k in the Thames. Totally great achievement, but let’s remember what went into that event:
- I tried open water swimming for the very first time this year, and I kept going although I didn’t find it easy.
- I swallowed my pride and bought a wetsuit even though I needed a man’s size and it was embarrassing to ask for.
- I trained for hours in the swimming pool, just up and down lengths, over and over and over. Often on a Friday night when the rest of the world was celebrating the weekend, I was in the pool, swimming.
- I got up at 6am on Saturday’s to swim in a lake with my triathlon team.
- I invested money in the event, the equipment, the training.
- And on the day, I got up at 4am to eat a breakfast that I’d spent time preparing the evening before, before driving for an hour to the venue, making the effort to chat to others and support their efforts, then driving an hour back home. Most of my Sunday had gone by that time. And all I blog about is “La, la, la, what fun!” It just doesn’t do it justice.
And that explains how these transformations come about.
But let’s also not forget that I am also a full time employee, mum, wife, and student. I got a 79.5% mark in the first year of my Masters degree, all in the same year that I did my first triathlon and never once dropped the ball in terms of training. I also like to invest time in helping and inspiring others. If I can get a couple of mates out in a relay triathlon so they can experience it, I will be there. I help my tri club with ideas on helping folks like me. I do all of this, and I don’t want congratulations, but I do need to be honest with myself about what I have achieved and what I continue to achieve. Without forgoing humilty, I do more in a day than some people would consider in a week. I maximise every single minute of every single day and it gets me a long way but it has it’s downside.
So – yes, sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I’m the last one finishing a routine in a HiiT class, and everyone stares at me and I get upset. Sometimes I get stroppy when my knee hurts when I squat. Sometimes I get so tired and in need of decent rest that I can’t help but cry, just out of feeling overwhelmed by everything I do, day in day out.
Rather than hate myself for the “weakness” of tiredness, I reflect on all the positive outcomes of my journey (there are no negative ones!) and celebrate the strength and dedication that got me here. I respect my body and mind and give them the fuel and rest they need and then I get back up, dust myself up and get on.
And so to bed …