Most of you reading this post probably know me as this active, non stop moving, energetic girl, who loves exercise and working out. And you are right, I do love exercise and being active since forever. If I go by what my mom tells me then its since before I was even born.
But it certainly doesn’t mean it’s been like that all the time.
I went through periods of my life when I felt differently about it. I went through the times when I struggled and exercised for wrong reasons. I didn’t enjoy it at all and viewed it as something I had to do, not something I wanted or enjoyed to do at the time.
Everyone is different and everyone deals with their feelings, emotions, whether they’re good or bad their own way. For so many people exercise is something that helps them to get through the hard times, to help them stay focused or away from anxiety or just to get out and for an hour and forget about whatever they are dealing with in their life.
For others, exercise is a part of the day, part of their lifestyle and they can’t even imagine a day going without it because it makes them feel good.
Everyone is different and everyone should always do what makes them feel good – there is so many ways of exercising and what makes one person feel good doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what you will enjoy too.
What is a really strange feeling for me is that only now (while I’m typing this and thinking about it), Im realising when I was a teenager and pretty much up until about 4 years ago, any activities and exercise I used to do in my free time I did simply for the fact that I enjoyed them. I used to workout and move because i wanted to, because i enjoyed it and it made me feel good. It was never a case that I felt I had to do it in order to look “perfect”.
And if you’re thinking “Yea, it’s because you didn’t have to worry about your weight as you were never overweight”, you are right. I wasn’t. But neither am I now.
So why did I start feeling differently about it then? Why did I start feeling I had to go to the gym so I can get in shape, get skinnier or more toned? Why was I happy in my body before and not so much now? When did it change?
When I was pregnant I put on a lot of weight (26kg to be exact, which is a lot) and I didn’t really mind, I was pregnant so I felt ok about it. Then I had my beautiful little boy and I couldn’t be any happier. It didn’t really bother me that I wasn’t straight back in the shape, I genuinely didn’t care because I was enjoying the mommy-hood and didn’t think much about it. I have lost quite a lot of weight but I didn’t go straight back to what I used to be. And I couldn’t help but started to feel this weird pressure which is quite hard to explain. I felt like because of my fitness background, people where almost expecting me to get straight into shape, get ‘my body’ back straight away.
I could have been completely wrong but I subconsciously felt this pressure and only one small comment like “When are you gonna start working out?” or that one ‘look’ could easily make me feel like it’s a hint. So after a few weeks I have decided it was time to get back to the gym and work on my body.
Did I enjoy it? NO. Why didn’t I enjoy it like I used to?
To be honest with you, I was quite happy in my post-baby body. I wasn’t unhealthy, I was still active – walking hours and hours a day with Nico in the buggy, eating healthy food and I was happy. But with those little hints I was getting here and there (which I now believe I sometimes made in my own head myself) and the expectations I felt like I had to meet, even though I didn’t feel like hitting the gym at the time, I decided to just do it. I worked out because I thought people didn’t like the way my body looked and I started to believe it. I stopped liking my body and i was insecure about it. And I stopped enjoying the gym workout. In fact every time I went was a torture.
After a few months I was choreographing and organising a Strictly Come Dancing Fundraiser which took all my free time, so I didn’t get a chance to go to the gym.
That time I have finally decided to stop. Stop chasing this “perfect” body. I was just exhausted and tired of it – emotionally and physically too.
I decided I’m going to enjoy this experience of ‘Strictly’. I was having a great time choreographing, dancing and socialising, while I was eating good food and living a healthy lifestyle. I stopped focusing on the results, stopped stressing about it and simply
enjoyed the process.
And guess what happened?
By the end of this experience I felt amazing. ‘Strictly’ helped me to forget about the pressure and just enjoy what I like to do. It didn’t just help my body but also my mind.
And to be honest I think I was possibly in the best shape I’ve ever been (pic with Nico).
When I stopped viewing the exercise as this horrible thing I had to do in order to get back into shape and started seeing it as a positive part of my lifestyle to move my body and stay healthy and even away from my anxiety, it all changed.
It was probably the best I’ve felt about myself (confidence-wise) since college.
Blake Lively once said: “The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence”.
And it is so true. There is nothing more attractive then confidence. It doesn’t really matter if you’re in a perfect shape really, once you feel good about yourself it shines through you.
When you’ll look back at your life, will you wish you had a stricter diet or exercise regime or that you lived your life more? I’m sure nobody is going to say the first option.
But I know it’s so hard to think that way at times as today’s world is constantly promoting something else. And I know how easy it is to feel pressured these days (thanks to social media, photoshop, expectations, comparing and society in general).
I know it because up until few months ago I still used to catch myself wishing my body would look different – better. Telling myself i need to work harder to get to whatever image I created in my head for myself.
The difference between my body before i was pregnant (when i was perfectly confident and happy with my body) and now isn’t that big, at times when I’m being good and I workout as much as I’d like to, it’s literally minimal if any, so why do I care much more about it now? I’m older, surely i should be more confident knowing my body haven’t really changed? But somehow its the other way.
Somehow i feel judged, compared and not necessarily by others, sometimes by me.
Why do i do it to myself?
I’m not gonna give you the answer to this because i’m not entirely sure why and I’m not the expert, but i’m finally aware of how silly it is and for the past few months I’m trying to look at it differently.
I don’t want to sound preachy about self confidence and self love, as I’m definitely not 100% there yet, but I think I’m definitely getting closer to where I want to be. I feel quite confident and secure and even though at times I feel ‘out of shape’ – because life happens and sometimes I’m too busy, or too lazy, or caught up in a great tv series which is ok too, I also know I will always get back to it.
Exercise should be a part of everyone’s life cause it’s extremely important for not just your physical but also mental health. A lot of times for me personally working out helps me to stay away from anxiety and it also makes me feel good about myself.
I just think we shouldn’t spend hours running on treadmill if we don’t enjoy it, or count calories if it makes us stressed, but we should try doing workouts we truly enjoy and that make us feel good. These days the options are endless.
I know a few months ago I wouldn’t have shared these pictures publicly, as Im clearly not in the ‘best’ shape and you can see my rolls (it’s all about the angle), but I’m ok with it. I guess I’ve slowly learned I don’t always need to have a six-pack to like my body and because the last few months were a bit stressful, I didn’t get to workout as much as I would like to or as I should. But it’s ok. I’m just gonna ‘roll with it’ 🙂
I’m now finally starting to have more time for myself and I can’t wait to get back to the gym and dance more. And I’m also very excited about the winter season as I always go snowboarding, which for me is always super fun. I love to just grab the gear and hit the mountain and enjoy it to the fullest. And the bonus is – it’s also a full body workout.
So what is the moral of this story?
Eat good food, live healthy lifestyle and move for pleasure, not as a chore.
Find a workout that makes you feel good (whether it is gym workout, jogging, dancing, crossfit, boxing, yoga or walking your dog), a workout that you enjoy because only that way you will stick to it. Try and don’t beat yourself, it always takes time to see changes, just be persistent and patient.
And most importantly –
WORKOUT BECAUSE YOU LOVE YOUR BODY AND NOT BECAUSE YOU HATE IT ❤️
“Beauty has so many forms, and I think the most beautiful thing is confidence and loving yourself”. – Kiesza
Hope it helps anyone who do struggle xxx